THE SALLAN FOUNDATION ANNUAL REPORT 2012
Executive Director's Report
Our 2011 Annual Report saw the environmental awareness and policy needle moving into more positive territory and 2012 experienced an acceleration of this modest trend. Once again, cities were the locus of smart, sustainable innovation with little encouragement from Washington. Ferment and forward movement on sustainable cities was in evidence among advocates, academia and forward thinkers in the public, civic and private sectors.
New York City in 2012 witnessed advances to programs articulated in Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC and maturation of its offspring, the Greener Greater Building Plan. Through continued multi-party stakeholder engagement in this sustainability agenda, opportunities arose for recasting the urban infrastructure to make it more energy efficient and natural resource aware. Economic energy flowed into greener endeavors. The civic space that is home to the Sallan Foundation went into higher gear. In 2012, Sallan continued to perform as an agent for reimagining the roles and goals of the metropolis. The year also delivered a devastating surprise in the form of Superstorm Sandy, a vivid reminder that sustainability, security and resilience are works-in-progress and not sure things. In this context of opposites, the Foundation advanced on its path with tenacious commitment as cities face the future.
More broadly, Sallan develops projects and establishes working partnerships to illuminate sustainability efforts that can be executed at an urban scale. As the Executive Director of the Sallan Foundation, I mobilize the Foundation's resources with the objective of identifying, incubating and disseminating emerging trends and practices with the capacity to 'green' the built environment and bring its underlying infrastructure into the 21st Century. My strategy is to assemble the best ideas for making global cities into centers of environmental innovation and resilience and I cultivate effective advocacy through project partnerships. The Foundation, however, is not aligned with any profession, discipline or political party. Since opening its doors eight years ago, Sallan has served as an independent convener and facilitator of stakeholder collaborations and as an educator in the public realm.
The Sallan Foundation accomplished the following:
Broadcasting Emerging Ideas
Web-Site Content — Since its 2005 launch, Sallan's website has become an essential tool for advancing the Foundation's mission. It is the primary url for downloading Sallan-sponsored research as it continues to serve as the vehicle for curating content on domestic and global green news in addition to its ever-updated Events calendar. Readership grew again in 2012.
Site-Generated Content — This year, topics of Sallan's six guest Snapshot columns ranged from a call for a federal carbon tax to applying principles of behavioral psychology to home energy efficiency. Nancy posted five Torchlight columns, ranging from a controversial piece on the lack of investment activity by the NYC Energy Efficiency Corporation to a photo-essay on the proposed Lowline Park, which would be 'irrigated' underground by sunlight.
Special Features — The website permanently hosts Sallan-sponsored original works. New in 2012 were the Market Makers Special Report Microsite and the FOB First Year White Paper. The website also spotlights Sallan-sponsored public events through multi-media Wrap-Ups. This year, Wrap-Ups included Prospects for Atlantic Wind.
Special Features — Following up on developing and presenting the 2011 Market Makers panel series with NYC-ACRE, an urban green-business incubator at NYU/Poly, Sallan published a multi-media Market Makers Special Report on its custom-created web mini-site in 2012. The report is grounded on the premise that adapting New York City's legacy building stock to 21st-century requirements is a defining task we face. Not surprisingly, energy-related subjects now figure in many real estate-related conversations, but mobilizing resources and action is not yet at-scale. The Special Report examined how the market is actually responding to new realities. To gauge market response, the report drew on experts' insights into energy-efficiency technologies, electric utilities, financial innovation, and real estate trends. As well, those experts used their own work to articulate broadly applicable market insights.
Interview — Nancy was interviewed about the NYC Benchmarking Law and the FOB White Paper for the on-line urban affairs newspaper New York World.
Social Media — Nancy continued to tweet daily and @Sallan_Found had has nearly 500 followers. She posted comments on green-themed sites including Forbes, Financial Times, Sustainable Cities Collective, New York Times Dot Earth Blog, Untapped Data and the Council of Foreign Relations Green Blog. Sallan's presence on Twitter helped to elevate the Foundation's media profile and provided a useful social media channel for disseminating original Sallan content. This year, Sallan's website added the capacity to share materials and items on its Events Calendar with Twitter and other social media like Linked-In.
Fostering An Informed Public
NYAS — As a member of the New York Academy of Sciences Green Buildings Group, Nancy helped organized the daylong, The Data-Driven Built Environment conference. She focused on developing "How Much Is It Worth", a panel of real estate and finance experts who examined how to value greener building. Later in the year, she reviewed and commented on a conference-related eBriefing under the aegis of the NYAS.
For a sixth year, Sallan was a member of green sciences advisory groups at the Academy that provide ideas to staff for developing public programs.
Clean Tech Corridor & NYIT — The Sallan Foundation initiated, co-sponsored and introduced a conference on Prospects for Atlantic Wind Power. Nancy's introduction highlighted the contribution of renewable power to combatting the "wicked problem" of climate change. Speakers included a wind power developer, energy economist, financier and a renewable energy policy advocate. A multi-media event Wrap Up was posted on the Sallan website.
Passive House NY — The Foundation co-sponsored the first annual Passive House NY conference held at the CCNY Spitzer School of Architecture.
Pace Energy & Climate Center, NYLCV, NYECC, NYC-ACRE & NYIT — Sallan initiated and organized, with five co-sponsors, Not Your Grandma's Infrastructure: The Urban Energy Revolution. Prospects for transforming urban energy systems through development and deployment of distributed power arrangements like combined heat/power/cooling systems and microgrids could have profound implications for a city's carbon footprint as well as its energy system security and resilience. Nancy provided introductory remarks that framed conference goals and multi-media event Wrap Up was posted on the Foundation's website. When planning the conference, no one could have known that the City's power supply was about to be devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
Northeast Sustainable Communities Workshop — Sallan was invited to participate in the plenary session of The Future of Brownfields Clean-Up and Redevelopment, a conference at John Jay College. She addressed the challenge of "What Lies Ahead" in remarks focused on creating more resilient urban infrastructure systems as key to urban community redevelopment.
NYIT — The Foundation was invited to moderate a panel at the Energizing Our Cities: Battery & Energy Storage For Urban Settings forum organized by New York Institute of Technology. Panelists addressed smart grid infrastructure developments, renewables and emerging energy storage technologies.
Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Green Finance Subcommittee — Nancy made a presentation about the NYC Benchmarking Law, based on a 2012 Torchlight column.
Taiwan Green Energy Trade Project Office — Sallan was invited to give a talk about the NYC Benchmarking Law and opportunities to upgrade building energy performance to delegates from Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs seeking to better understand the US urban market.
Cornell University — Nancy lead a class of Cornell architecture and urban planning students developing an energy benchmarking project for selected buildings in Lower Manhattan.
University of Hue — Nancy was invited to make a presentation to ASEAN graduate students at the University of Hue, Vietnam on the topic of how to talk about climate change.
Newman Real Estate Institute, CUNY — Last year, Nancy approached the Director of the Newman Real Estate Institute to partner with Sallan to establish and host the Friends of Benchmarking. Our goals were to assemble the experts, to solicit the support of real estate and utility stakeholders and green building advocates and then to commission and disseminate the Benchmarking First Year White Paper, written by the director of the CUNY Building Performance Lab. The White Paper affords an overview of issues central to public discussion of the City's new energy benchmarking resources. It both reviews issues affecting acceptance and use of data as well as makes recommendations for enhancing and promoting sustained impact.
NYLCV Green Group — Sallan continued to work with the Green Group, which brainstorms and shares information about local environmental legislation and how to score the contribution of elected officials in advancing a green agenda.
NRDC & RPA — Sallan participated in a working group organized by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Regional Plan Association that was charged with the task of developing a policy on regional solar power leadership.
NYC Climate Coalition — Sallan continued to support the work of the New York City Climate Coalitions, a green grass-roots advocacy group, through participation in project brainstorming meetings.