Takeaways from my trip to Chicago – written by Pawel Kaszynski

The Economic Value of Daylight and Views

During this session, I have learned about external factors that influence the price of a property. Among commonly known building class, number of floors, renovation, transportation accessibility and investor type, the presentation was mainly concentrated on an issue not widely discussed: daylight. The presenter based his explanation on showing how price can vary depending on height and localization in different parts of the New York City landscape… for instance, the fourth floor in Greenwich Village has a much different daylight autonomy than the fourth floor of a building in SoHo. Thus the different price. Moreover, the partakers could also learn what techniques architects are using to maximize the usage of the daylight coming through the windows in office buildings. At MIT, Prof. Reinhart summarized the presentation with information that corporations are willing to rent an office space and pay goodwill as high as 5% and residents 2-3% for an apartment with better daylight accessibility.

 

Green Bonds – A Way to Finance a Better Future or Just Greenwashing

During this session, I learned that a green bond is a bond specifically made to be used for climate or environmental projects. They are similar to traditional bonds in terms of deal structure, but they have different requirements for reporting. Any organization with bonding authority can issue green bonds. One of the most prominent organizations that have issued them is The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Toyota Financial Services. They are typically purchased by institutional investors, governments and corporate investors. Issuing a Green Bond can benefit a company among others by attracting new investors, getting positive publicity and access to capital for sustainability-related projects.

 

Steelcase Presents: Workplace Well-being

This session was sponsored by furniture manufacturing company – Steelcase. The presentation started by focusing attention on key information about the well-being of people in the working space… ie. only 2 in 5 employees are working at peak performance or that 67% of employees think about changing the job after returning from holiday or that only 44% of employees with poor well-being say they are satisfied with their jobs. In this education session, I mainly learned that improving employee’s well-being not only helps them to be healthier while also lowering healthcare costs, but it also helps them to be more productive, creative and innovative, and less likely to leave for a break, or what’s worse… a competitor. Therefore, I have learned how to design a workplace for well-being by understanding how to provide for choice and control for employees and providing a palette of place, posture, and presence.

 

Summary of the Conference

In my opinion, the Greenbuild Conference and Expo was a good investment in my education. During these three days, I learned not only about the financial aspects of building green but I also meet and discussed a couple of interesting ideas with working professionals and potential future co-op employers. In addition to that, I have also learned a lot about the availability of materials that can be used in construction from pioneering three leg foundations, to compressed carton facades, and innovative “living” green interiors.

This trip was also an excellent opportunity to discover the city during the nights after conferences. I also learned that Chicago has one of a kind two stories of roads, which help to keep the city clean and assist in reducing traffic, as well as from a construction standpoint, I learned about the most recognizable buildings in this town. This was all able to be accomplish on a very high level thanks to the knowledge and organization of Prof. Cribbs.

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