Podcast
49
min read
James Dice

🎧 #134: The building operator's role in decarbonization and digitization

January 19, 2023
“Tenants are struggling to achieve something that landlords have direct control over and that aligns with what landlords are struggling to do. Tenant submetering needs to be looked at and rethought."

—Comly Wilson

Welcome to Nexus, a newsletter and podcast for smart people applying smart building technology—hosted by James Dice. If you’re new to Nexus, you might want to start here.

The Nexus podcast (Apple | Spotify | YouTube | Other apps) is our chance to explore and learn with the brightest in our industry—together. The project is directly funded by listeners like you who have joined the Nexus Pro membership community.

You can join Nexus Pro to get a weekly-ish deep dive, access to the Nexus Vendor Landscape, and invites to exclusive events with a community of smart buildings nerds.

Before we dive in, I want to make sure everyone is aware of two initiatives we have going on at Nexus Labs. The first is our Jobs board. I’ll keep it short and suite: You can now pay a monhtly fee that allows you to put up to 3 job postings at a time into our newsletter that currently goes out to almost 6,000 doers in the smart buildings industry.

Second, we just announced our new partner program. We’re looking for only the top smart building technology vendors, I’m talking 3-5 in each category, to join this new program, where we work together to tell the stories that matter on that category. Reach out to us if you’re interested in being in our inner circle.

Episode 134 is a conversation with Comly Wilson, CMO at Enertiv.

Summary

I enjoyed this one because I believe in a lot of what Comly was saying about workflows being the key to decarbonizing buildings. And not just decarbonization, really implementing any new technology or changing the way things are done in any way requires you to start with the way people work currently and meet them where they’re at.

To that end, we spent most of the episode unpacking Comly’s hot take that 2022 was all about tenant experience and 2023 is going to be all about operator experience. So stay tuned for exactly what that means.


️️🏢 A message from our sponsor, Jaros, Baum & Bolles 🏢

Building intelligence engineering allows OT and IT systems to seamlessly and securely integrate with each other and onto common platforms. Creating a successful building intelligence strategy entails translating the owner’s goals to outcomes, use cases, intelligent building technologies, and enhanced MEP systems.

To learn more about what JB&B is calling “MEP 3.0” and the value of building intelligence design, as well as the difference between smart and intelligent buildings, listen to JB&B’s Division Lead’s conversation with the global certification company WiredScore.


Mentions and Links

  1. Enertiv (1:14)
  2. Nexus Jobs Board (1:54)
  3. Partnership Opportunities with Nexus (2:09)
  4. Operator Spotlight (16:07)
  5. Comly's LinkedIn Post (18:26)
  6. Tim Ferriss Podcast (34:27)
  7. 1491 by Charles C. Mann (43:35)
  8. 1493 by Charles C. Mann (43:35)
  9. The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow (43:55)
  10. Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPhee and Betty Crumley (45:37)
  11. Seven Summits by Dick Bass, Frank Wells, and Rick Ridgeway (47:22)

You can find Comly on LinkedIn.

Enjoy!

Highlights

  • Comly’s background (2:50)
  • About Enertiv (6:35)
  • 2022 was about TenX and 2023 is all about OpX (18:21)
  • How we create a concept of carbon on-site with our operational teams (28:31)
  • How landlords align with tenants (31:08)
  • ESG 2.0 playbook and what is needed moving forward (34:45)
  • Carveouts (43:12)

☁️ A message from our sponsor, SkySpark ☁️

SkySpark is a comprehensive software platform for connecting, storing, analyzing and visualizing data from smart devices and equipment systems. SkySpark’s automated analytics, KPIs, Energy and GhG Apps, turn your data into actionable intelligence providing improved performance, reduced downtime, and operational savings.

Head over to SkyFoundry.com for insightful white papers, case studies, and blog posts, as well as a link to sign up for a free demo.


👋 That's all for this week. See you next Thursday!

Whenever you're ready, there are 4 ways Nexus Labs can help you:

1. Take our shortcut to learning the Smart Buildings industry here (300 students and counting)

2. Join our community of smart buildings nerds and gamechangers here (400 members and counting)

3. (NEW) Join the Nexus Labs Syndicate for opportunities to invest in the best smart buildings startups that cross my desk each month.

4. (NEW) Our Partner Hub is launching soon. This is an opportunity to be featured on our website, get original content, and tap into the Nexus community. Email us at partners@nexuslabs.online


Music credit: Dream Big by Audiobinger—licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

Full transcript

Note: transcript was created using an imperfect machine learning tool and lightly edited by a human (so you can get the gist). Please forgive errors!

[00:00:33] James Dice: As we covered in our recent blog series on the five vital roles, smart buildings require engineers and engineering that allows OT and it systems to seamlessly and securely integrate with each other. And integrate with common platforms. Creating a successful building intelligence strategy entails translating the owner's goals to outcomes, use cases, intelligent building technologies and enhanced MEP systems.

To learn about what JB and B is calling [00:01:00] MEP 3.0 and the value of building intelligence design. Check out our friends at JB and B and specifically . Their podcast conversation with Wiredscore at the link in the show notes.

[00:01:11] James Dice: This episode is a conversation with calmly Wilson CMO at enter tive. I really enjoyed this one because I believe in a lot of what Kahn Lee was saying about workflow is being the key to decarbonizing buildings. And not just decarbonisation really implementing any new technology or changing the way things are done in any way requires you to start with the way people work currently and meet them where they're at.

To that end, we spent most of the episode unpacking Conley's hot. Take that 2022 was all about tenant experience and 20, 23 is going to be all about operator experience. So stay tuned for exactly what that means. Before we dive in, I want to make sure everyone is aware of two initiatives we have going on at nexus labs. The first is our jobs board. I'll keep that short and sweet.

You can now pay a monthly fee that allows you to put up to three job postings at one time into our [00:02:00] newsletter that goes out to currently 6,000 doers in the smart buildings industry. You can find that by going to our website and clicking on jobs. Second, we just announced our new partner program. We're looking for only the top smart building technology vendors and service providers. I'm talking three to five in each category ish to join our new program. We're going to work together to tell the stories that matter on each category.

So reach out to us. If you're interested in being in our inner circle and helping us plan out our editorial calendar for the year. So without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the nexus podcast with calmly Wilson.

[00:02:35] James Dice: Hello, calmly, welcome to the Nexus Podcast. I'm so excited to have you on. Can we start with your background? Can you take us through kind of educational background, professional background? What, what, what got you here?

[00:02:47] Comly Wilson: Sure, and thanks for having me. It's really, it's really great to be here. So I went to, uh, American University. I studied political science. I, I got into, uh, energy and environmental policy. [00:03:00] Thought I wanted to work in, uh, think tanks and nonprofits and my first job out of school was, was at a, a startup.

And I fell in love with the entrepreneurial side of things. I, I, uh, I had never thought that would be my path, but um, you know, that company got acquired, which was great to see. Got to work at the corporate version of that for, for a little while. Tried to launch my own little app.

It was like the idea was like the Mint Personal Finance app, but, but for your, your sustainability, which I think exists now. Uh, there's a couple of those. And then landed at Ener. Tiv. And so I've been here for the last, uh, five and a half years. It's been awesome to see the company grow from, uh, where it was to where it is and, and, and to see the market grow and, and.

Yeah, I, I'm the marketing director at, at niv and I, I'm fortunate enough to get to touch the business development side, the product development side and everything in between. So, [00:04:00] uh, it, it's just, it's been cool to, learn about this industry and become, become one of the, one of the voices.

[00:04:06] James Dice: Yeah, totally. You, you, you strike me as someone that's more technical than your average cmo, right? There are a lot of people in our industry that are in marketing. , no offense to any of those people, but you, you seem to be more technical, more hands on, more you understand more about the product, more about the, the people on the ground using your product than the typical marketing person.

Do I have that? Do I have that correct?

[00:04:32] Comly Wilson: I, I hope so. I, I think for me, that comes from um, trying everything I possibly can to understand our clients, uh, and, and, and know what they're going through, know what matters to them. . And if that requires getting technical, then, then so be it. So it, in my opinion, it'd be impossible to, to do marketing without being able to speak truthfully to the, to the pain points.

So I've, [00:05:00] I've gotten the opportunity to walk through boiler rooms and, and see what it's like and shadow engineers and that, that's, that's kind of baseline, uh, in my opinion for, for this kinda.

[00:05:10] James Dice: And that's funny you talked about the Mint for Sustainability app. I feel like I had that same idea at some point too. Uh, I'm, I'm like a heavy mint.com user, right? It just makes sense that there should be some aggregator for pulling all the different ways in which you consume carbon personally.

[00:05:30] Comly Wilson: Yeah.

[00:05:31] James Dice: what, what happened with that? How did it,

[00:05:33] Comly Wilson: I, I, I got like maybe. , I don't know, 150 users, and the data showed that they, almost all of them logged on. They would, uh, do one of two things, either leave and never come back or connect their, their utility account so they can see at least their like, home utility data in [00:06:00] there. And then leave and never come back. So I, I, being in startups before that, I believed the maximum of, of fail quickly. And, and so I shut it down relatively. You know, I, there wasn't any nugget of any thread that I could hold onto that, that people were gravitating to. So, yeah, I think that I've seen one recently that had a good business model.

I think they connect to your credit card and your utility account and.

They they basically sell you carbon offsets. So that's, that's how they make money on it. Which, is something

[00:06:34] James Dice: Something for sure. All right, let's talk about Ener tip. So can you talk about, for those people that haven't heard of Enart, what do you guys do? Where are you guys at? What types of clients do you serve?

[00:06:45] Comly Wilson: Yeah. So, we define ourselves as an operational intelligence platform. We, we serve all property types in commercial real estate. The, we, I know that operational intelligence doesn't, uh, mean anything [00:07:00] n yet . But, uh, to, to understand what we're going for, I think it's important to understand what the status quo is in commercial real estate.

So you know, if you're, if you're an owner operator or you're a large investment portfolio the, the teams on the ground will have, half a dozen different software solutions to manage their everyday workflows. And then the guys in the, the market over are also using a half dozen tools and they're different.

From the first group. So, we actually did a, a technology survey with one of our larger clients and across 53 of their assets, they had 50 unique technology vendors for the same five or six workflows that have to happen. So, you know, you aggregate this and, and, and there's just no transparency.

And so operational intelligence comes in because in order to have, in order to make intelligent decision, , you need transparency into, [00:08:00] into what's going on. We think there are two primary parts of that. There's data that's consolidated and there's data that's contextualized. So on the consolidated front, uh, NIV has built an all in one platform for.

Both workflow automation and real-time monitoring. There are four software modules. A, a maintenance app. It's a best-in-class cmms, uh, energy and ESG tool for, utility bill scraping and ESG reporting, a tenant billing tool for the the submetering process and the the billing process and a capital planning tool to bring that process out of spread.

And then the power ups come in where we integrate real-time data, whether that's from a BMS or whether that's sensors that, that we deploy. And we take those, workflows and we apply data driven insights and ultimately greater efficiency, fault detection improved [00:09:00] decision making on the, on the capital planning side.

And as importantly, So that's the consolidated front. the contextual front is we aim to serve each of the stakeholders where they are. So if you're a controls engineer, you log into Enterative and, and all the scatter plots with the KW to outside air temperature there. And you, you can, you can do your thing.

If you're a building engineer, you don't care about any of that. You just want to know what, what do I have to do right. , right? And if you're an asset manager, you don't care about any of that and you just want to know how are things going generally, right? What do I have to pay attention to? Are there any issues sneaking up on me that I need to get ahead of?

So, in a nutshell, we are delivering transparency for commercial real estate owners and.

[00:09:49] James Dice: Totally. And so, and commercial real estate is primarily landlords or your customer.

[00:09:55] Comly Wilson: Landlords investment portfolios, uh, who don't [00:10:00] necessarily operate their own buildings. They, they usually have the least transparency when it comes into operations. So, yeah, definitely both of those. And we have seen some traction with large occupiers or, or corporate entities as well, but,

[00:10:15] James Dice: Okay. Yeah. The, the focus on which stakeholder or which end user is. Really interesting. I haven't seen a lot of people doing that. That, same data underneath and then contextually providing whatever that, user and their role requires. I don't know that had, I don't know that I have a question around that.

It, it seems like you guys have probably read my writing and it's been resonating because you, you like, respond and comment a lot of what I've written about that. Have you, have you, has that been resonating with your customers? Uh, how long have you guys been doing that? Can you talk a little bit more about that piece?

[00:10:51] Comly Wilson: Yeah, sure. So Enterative started as an equipment monitoring company solely. So, [00:11:00] um, the, the original insight was many buildings don't have a building management system. , even those that do, it doesn't cover every system or it's so old that you can't integrate with it. So the, the founders developed a branch circuit meter that they could, uh, affordably deploy in buildings and get real time electrical demand data from hundreds of pieces of equipment.

So, They, went to their early customers and they said, look, this is data that you've never seen before. This is a novel data set that, that can allow you to make better decisions. And they would go, oh my God, look, I can see my chiller is consuming six kw of power right now. What does that mean?

Is that good? Is that bad? What, what's the context here? So from there it was, okay, now we have to develop algorithms and analytics. translate this kind of raw data into insights and into optimizations. And one of [00:12:00] the big, I wouldn't say pivot, but one of the big turning points in the company's history was truthfully transparency into equipment level, energy data is important.

But that's just one small piece. One area where owners and operators don't have transparency, they don't know if maintenance has been performed. They don't know if they're gonna have to replace any piece of equipment soon. They don't know what their tenants are consuming. They don't know any of this stuff.

So there was pre covid a move to let's. understand what building operators are working with today. And in the cases where we think we can do, we can serve them better than, than their spreadsheets or their legacy apps. Let's build that for them and let's connect these two. Let's connect that to our kind of core business.

When Covid hit that accelerated rapidly, uh, all of a sudden[00:13:00] the idea of deploying sensors to, to track real time equipment, level data was, was interesting. But like we, many portfolios realized that they wanted to do things rapidly at scale. And software is a lot easier to do that with than than going building by building.

With integrations. So when you get into that space, kind of one thing leads to another and, you cannot we've, we've gotten to the point where we understand fully that if, if we want a building engineer to implement the optimizations that Ntif can identify, we believe. Wholeheartedly that we need to deliver value to him in his regular day before we start saying, Hey, there's another thing you need to do on top of everything else.

[00:13:52] James Dice: Yep. Yep.

[00:13:53] Comly Wilson: Likewise, uh, asset managers are often the ones signing the check and they [00:14:00] sign the check and then they get a bunch of tools that they, they've never used or will never use. They, because often, especially now, uh, asset managers are being asked to speak to ESG goals, right? They, they have to be well versed in this stuff. They can, we cannot expect them to suddenly become highly technical and used tools that were designed for engineers. We need to translate that to, to Like a zero to 100 trended score.

What you know, what is your maintenance score? Right? Something, something that anybody could understand. So a lot of it happened organically. A lot of it happened just by working and listening to working with commercial real estate owners, operators, and listening to what their needs were and and innovating on their behalf.

[00:14:50] James Dice: Yeah, it's really interesting me watching, you know, coming from a very technical role in the industry. You know, My, the first 10 years of my career being an engineer, [00:15:00] working with F D D, working with analytics. And then kind of providing what my customers needed to know from that. Right. So if I'm talking to the controls guy, I might pull up that scatter plot.

Like you said, if I'm talking to the, property manager, I might just say, shit's pretty messed up, . Right. You know, um, It's, it's been interesting watching it, watching the sort of product landscape evolve because I feel like there are still a lot of F d D companies that are sort of stuck in that.

We're gonna show you all of the information, and we're gonna expect whoever logs in here to get something out of it. But I think there's a whole different crop of software developers that are sitting here saying, well, who's logging in? Right? And, and how can I, like, basically take that same analytical insight and insert those into the right workflows for that person.

So I'm, I'm glad to hear that that's resonating and that that's sort of how you guys are thinking as.

[00:15:56] Comly Wilson: it is, uh, it's wild too when [00:16:00] you like, , there's all this abstract technology stuff. And then when you try to map that to the real world, we, we do a, we do a series called a Operator spotlight where we'll just, we'll interview a, a building operator and learn about what his day-to-day is like, and one quote will always stick with me.

I was like, how much time does this save you? Right? How much you have this new technology? How much time does that save you? , the way he put it is like, it's not in terms of minutes and hours. It's, I walk into a mechanical room and I know that two years ago we replaced the motor on one of these 12 pumps, but nobody knows which

[00:16:43] James Dice: which one

[00:16:44] Comly Wilson: So, so what do I do? I, I, I go back and I dig through my email for some sign of which,

[00:16:52] James Dice: Mm-hmm.

[00:16:53] Comly Wilson: while I'm doing that, I get a call because something has happened somewhere in the building, and so I have to go deal with that, [00:17:00] right? So that takes up the rest of my day. I, I come back to my desk the next day and, oh, I have a better idea than email.

I'll look through this spreadsheet that I keep on projects that had happened, right? Capital plan, handle plans and projects, and I'm, I'm digging through that. I'm almost there and I get another emergency call and this keeps happening. And so it's not minutes and hours. Uh, it took me a whole week to get the answer to the question that I, that I had.

That means I can't, I'm, I'm just stuck. Right. For, for a whole week not making decisions, not, uh, getting work done. That, that's like a perfect example of like, it doesn't matter how sophisticated your F D D program is, if your, if your operator is. experiencing their, their work like this. The, there's some stat that operators spend 18% of their day looking for information that's, that's one day out of the week.

They're, they're just looking for [00:18:00] stuff. Right? And then, you have sustainability teams come and say that, okay, now it's time for an energy treasure hunt. We expect you. Analyze all your systems and figure out wherever you can save energy. It's like I can't even get to my core responsibilities.

How am I supposed to do this effectively?

[00:18:20] James Dice: Totally. All right, let's talk about the, the how then. So I, I loved this LinkedIn post you posted, and I think it had like seven people like it, and I thought like 700, 700 people should have liked it. But the, the basically said 2022 is all about tenant experience. 2023 is gonna be all about. Operator experience.

And we're kind of talking that about that a little bit, but maybe you could just start with, I'm not gonna read the whole post, but talk about why you're predicting 2023 to be about that operator experience.

[00:18:56] Comly Wilson: Yeah, well,

[00:18:58] James Dice: I.

[00:18:58] Comly Wilson: again, some context is [00:19:00] important. Not only our, our owners and asset managers waking up and realizing they have no transparency. They don't know what's going on. But the labor market for building operators is extremely tough. Many of, like the majority of them are over 50, many are retiring sooner than was expected.

Really nobody to replace them. Meanwhile, inflation's rising, interest rates are rising, there's concerns about recession and uh, there's kind of a tightening budgets. And then there's all this scrutiny around from investors around esg, from regulators on, on carbon emissions, from tenants are expecting more than ever.

So, the context is we like as a commercial real estate portfolio, , we have to do more with less. How do we do that? How do we, how do we engage our onsite teams to do better than they've ever done with fewer of [00:20:00] them or or with less resources generally

[00:20:03] James Dice: And you said the, like you said this earlier a little bit. I just wanna kind of go back to it. The, the key to that is sort of becoming, this is my own word. my own wording, but sort of becoming the place where their work gets done, their, their core job, not the other stuff that you're adding onto their plate with decarbonization and whatever, but where, where does their core job get done?

And it sounds like that's what you guys have decided. Hey, we're gonna be the core place where you get your work done and that's gonna be actually the best place to engage them on these new initiatives that need to be

paid

[00:20:39] Comly Wilson: That's exactly right. And, and not only, so you know, you go into a mechanical room, there's a $500,000 chiller, and the, the maintenance log is a piece of loose leaf that's been ripped off and. On the chiller. Right? Uh, so similar to this, this example I gave [00:21:00] earlier about which pump motor had been replaced the first thing we do is a layer of digitization.

So, like, let's take pictures of every piece of equipment. , digitize that nameplate information. Let's pull in the ONM manuals and warranties and service agreements and everything related to that piece of equipment and make it accessible. Either by logging into the platform or through like an asset tag, a QR code sticker in the field.

So if you're that building operator and you just need to know what the deal is, like, is this under warranty? scan the asset tag, and I have my answer right, like, that's true value to to, to a building operator. You've, you've saved them a tremendous amount of headache and time. If that same app also has their preventative maintenance schedule, it has their inspection schedule.

If they need to do meter reads for tenant sub metering, it's all in there.

[00:21:54] James Dice: Mm-hmm.

[00:21:55] Comly Wilson: It, the, the most recent capital plan is in there. All these kind of [00:22:00] like workflow things that have to happen, work orders from tenants even better. And then if that same app can say, Hey, by the way, we predict that the elevator motor, uh, has experienced enough degradation that it, it should be maintained now, uh, to avoid a, a shutdown even better.

Or you. , change your chiller set point by two degrees and you'll save $25,000 a year like that. Like what a different experience for an operator to, to use a tool every single day to walk the building to, to perform core responsibilities. That same thing has insights being delivered on a regular basis rather than like, corporate said we have to care about energy efficiency.

So like, let's do a three day energy treasure hunt. And you, you have to fit this into your schedule somehow.

[00:22:53] James Dice: Or, or how I think a lot of the smart buildings industry wants them to think, which is, here's this other [00:23:00] application. Go log into that other

thing that doesn't have any of that context that you just talked about. Doesn't have any of their core responsibilities. It's extra and just like you talked about, the guy that can't seem to find his get, get time to dig into his email.

Are they really gonna have time to dig into that other application? Right? Yeah.

[00:23:20] Comly Wilson: The really cool thing about tying these together is that , the, the realtime monitoring doesn't have to stop at F D D now, right? It doesn't have to stop at energy savings, like basic set point and scheduling savings, right? If with realtime monitoring, we can calculate runtime hours, so let's look at that preventative maintenance schedule and not have to base it off, uh, a calendar.

We can base it off how much the equipment actually. , what a novel concept. Like you, you actually could save a bunch of time because you're over maintaining these systems. Or, our capital plan [00:24:00] says to replace this, this piece of equipment this year because the manufacturer said so , right? Like, let's look at the maintenance history.

Let's look at the, the, the, his history of faults and, and the, the actual carbon emissions and determine whether. equipment needs to be replaced this year. So like there's one plus one equals like 50 in our, in our minds.

[00:24:23] James Dice: totally. So I imagine one of the main areas of pushback you guys get, and you correct me if I'm wrong, , I'll just tell a little story about my own business, right? So I'm looking for some sort of way to sort of project out cash flow and as any small business kind of is project out cash flow, run different scenarios.

And in that, I'm looking at my like Excel spreadsheet that I've been using for three years, since the beginning of Nexus that has all the cash flow information. And the, I'm looking at these software providers and they're basically [00:25:00] expecting me to kind of, in a deep way learn how their software works, but then not only that, but take the leap and say, N now I'm gonna run my business exactly how you guys.

Thought about how I should run my business, right when you develop this product. Right. And what I did was I trialed three of 'em, and then I realized these don't apply to me. Like I, I'm gonna keep running my business in Excel. Basically. I just needed, I just need a more detailed Excel spreadsheet to, to do projections.

So I'd imagine like there's a, there's a pushback a little bit, which is, I, I'm running it this way now. I don't have time to run it. How, how I am running. And I especially don't have time to then figure out a new way to run my building based on how your guys' software works. Do you guys, do you guys struggle with that?

Because I feel like a lot of people, when you start to get into workflows, you start to say, well, the old way that you were doing your workflows was not good. You need to [00:26:00] do it on, on our, our system. And I feel like that's a big leap sometimes for people that are already really busy.

[00:26:07] Comly Wilson: Yeah. Yeah. No, I think every. software as a solution provider in the world probably faces this. Just inertia is one of the biggest competitors for us.

[00:26:20] James Dice: it's really easy to tear out a loose leaf page and just

[00:26:23] Comly Wilson: yeah, for sure. So the, the reason that we've been growing at, at the rate we have is because the world is changing in a way. that's flipping that equation, right?

It's, it's going from, well, it would be nice, but it sounds like we'd have to, change some things to like, oh my God, if we don't change, we're doomed . Right? And it, it changes the equation, right? Like, if, if you're trying to raise capital and the [00:27:00] institutional investors are saying, , uh, not only do we need a, basic kind of carbon disclosure thing, but we need to see an action plan, an actual results, actual performance improvements.

And you go, uh, who's on top of it? Like, who's who, how are we gonna do this? And nobody has a good answer. Suddenly you, you look at those spreadsheets and you look at the. Email chains that have been good enough and, like, it, it's true what you're saying is, commercial real estate has been wildly successful for a long time running the way it has.

And it's who can, who can blame them for continuing to want to do that? But I think the world is, is kind of forcing them to.

[00:27:44] James Dice: Totally,

[00:27:50] James Dice: As we impact on one of our most popular episodes ever. Episode 44 with the legendary John petsy sky spark is a comprehensive software [00:28:00] platform for connecting, storing, analyzing, and visualizing data from devices and equipment systems, sky sparks, automated analytics, KPIs, energy, and greenhouse gas apps.

Turn your data into actionable intelligence, providing improved performance, reduced downtime and operational savings. Head over to sky foundry.com for insightful white papers, case studies and blog posts. As well as the link to sign up for a free demo.

[00:28:26] Comly Wilson: I might have stolen that from you.

[00:28:28] James Dice: No. No, I don't think you did. I don't think I said that, but I, I like this like, concept of carbon.

So can you talk, can you talk more about how you actually, besides like the sheer panic that you just described of like, oh, we can't raise money from institutional investors. How, how do you see this, this concept of carbon being created with, with operational, with operator?

[00:28:50] Comly Wilson: yeah, for sure. I, we, we try to tie every activity that we possibly can, not only to dollars and cents, but also to [00:29:00] carbon. And we hear over and over again from really smart, sophisticated landlords. Like at the, at the enterprise scale, they have a pretty good sense of, of carbon and carbon accounting, but when it comes to, to the site, all of that is out the window and it's, it's a different language.

It's never thought about until it's explicitly brought up to them. So connecting the dots there, uh, and creating a feedback loop, uh, we, we think is super duper critical. How do we do that? , for example. If, if you, if you have capital plans in spreadsheets and I, I've seen a 140 building portfolio that has us one Excel with 140 different tabs for the, for the capital plan for each property those decisions are being made.

Property managers, engineers, and then approved by asset managers, none of whom have a concept of carbon, [00:30:00] right? That, and then maybe on the big ticket items, sustainability comes in and says, whoa, whoa, whoa. Don't buy another boiler. Like, we need to find a, an, uh, electrification option here.

But there's no way that they can do that for every single line of 'em. There's just, there's just too much and too many. . Um, So in that example, we believe that bringing this process, this workflow out of spreadsheets and into software, we can break down those silos in the organization. We can, we can make sure that the decisions that are being made are made.

the, a full picture of the maintenance history with a full picture of the committed carbon after you make this decision. And, and the, the property's cash flows. So, like that, that's, that's one example of creating a, a, a concept of carbon on site

[00:30:58] James Dice: Got it, got it. [00:31:00] I bet when you wrote that post, you didn't think of us spending like 30 minutes digging into every, every line on it. I just realized that,

[00:31:07] Comly Wilson: But I didn't think it could happen.

[00:31:08] James Dice: but back to the first line though, you talked about tenant experience. I'm wondering then the concept of carbon on site. You're mostly talking about operational folks.

How do you then bridge that? That's like the, what I call like the portfolio site gap. We have to bridge that gap, those two different silos, portfolio folks and site folks. What about the third gap, which is the tenants, right? Or the third silo. How do you then sort of bring them in and get them aligned with the, what the landlords are trying to do and, and vice.

[00:31:38] Comly Wilson: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if I could, if I could shout anything from the mountaintop, it would probably be this, it's, it's tenant experience has, has been talked about for three years and it's been centered around like yoga and dog walking and ordering coffee. . Meanwhile [00:32:00] occupiers, corporate occupiers are paying ener to centralize their various submeter bills because they have their own ESG reporting requirements at the end of the year.

Right. And they just need a central repository to pull that from. And they, they get, they get, like, tenant submetering is probably the least sexy.

[00:32:22] James Dice: Mm-hmm.

[00:32:23] Comly Wilson: the least sexy workflow of all the workflows. But it's so important. It's like, it's so easy to to, for it to be an afterthought. Like, we bill them out and they pay their bill along with the rent and that's that right?

But tenants are struggling to achieve something that the landlords ha not only have a direct control over. But that aligns with the same thing that landlords are struggling to do, right? So, tenant sun metering needs to be really, really looked at and, and rethought. We, we have [00:33:00] some, we have a number of clients who really get it and they've seen the, the benefits of a kind of modern tenant submetering program.

What that looks like is bills. Are not so opaque, right? They're very, very clear. And they also talk about carbon equivalencies, and they also show ranks within the building. Like, you know, you spend five and a half dollars per square foot on electricity when the average tenant in this building spends, 2 25, like, , you should know that

And then, and then some poor soul at this corporate entity, instead of having to go through emails and pull out PDFs and manually type that into their ESG reporting tool they can go into the enterative tenant portal and download all that, all that data in a snap and just, and just send it to their, their reporting tool.[00:34:00] The other cool thing about having like a, a platform that is not just another tenant Submetering point solution is that that same tenant portal they can submit their maintenance tickets to. So, like something again that the tenants are gonna use on a regular basis also becomes this energy and carbon.

Uh, source of information, so,

[00:34:24] James Dice: Totally. That reminded me of um, I, I listened to the, the Tim Ferris podcast a lot, and he always asks guests, if you could put something on a billboard, what would you put, what would you, what would you put on it? And, uh, I feel like there's something there. I think you gotta, you gotta shorten your message a little bit. But yeah, there, there's, there's definitely something there. Yes. Tenant submetering matters. All right, cool. So we talked a little bit about the tenant experience, operator experience. You, you also have this concept that I saw you guys posted about, which was ESG 2.0 and the ESG 2.0 playbook. So [00:35:00] maybe we could start by what, what is, what was ESG 1.0 and then kind of what, what is the, the next version of that?

[00:35:08] Comly Wilson: Yeah. Simply put, ESG 1.0 is dis is reporting and disclosure. Right? It's, it's just compiling your mostly utility bills and submitting that to Energy Star and GREs and, and all these. Different frameworks along maybe with your kind of social standards and governance policies. That was ESG 1.0 set the, set the benchmark.

I think it was a necessary step. Small point on the, uh, on the like tenant billing piece, a lot of, landlords are still struggling with ESG 1.0. They get, at the end of the year, they have thousands of utility bills. These pretty much every provider is doing the same process, right? They're downloading these bills, they're using OCR to, to scrape the data out.

And they're, [00:36:00] they're digitizing it that way. And there's errors, right? Because we have, because we're a. a basically a bill producer. You know, we have this tenant submetering service and we produce bills on a monthly basis. We have the infrastructure to audit and verify and make sure that these, these bills are accurate.

We do it on the utility bill and the tenant bills. So like a lot of landlords have gotten stuck at this ESG 1.0 step. They say like, well, we got this software and, and now we have all this data. Now we gotta hire a consultant to clean it up. And the consultant advises us to have the onsite team submitted manually anyway, because that's more likely to be accurate.

And it's just like, oh no.

[00:36:44] James Dice: Oh God.

[00:36:46] Comly Wilson: that's, that's 1.0 in our minds 2.0 is, is doing something about it. Right. I, I think we've covered a lot of it. I think it starts with the onsite teams. There's an awesome stat recently from Energy Star. , [00:37:00] they surveyed energy star certified buildings and asked them what the biggest factor was in their certification.

And 69% said operations and maintenance over, retrofits, over tenant engagement, over smart building tools. IT operations and maintenance was their, their number one choice. So I think it makes sense to start there. And we've, we've talked about that piece. Tenants make up, 60, 70, 80% of the total consumption.

So obviously engaging that with the tenant, submetering matters billboard, uh, is part of this. And then something that I think you talk about all the time is, is like the third piece is real time monitoring. And. , uh, capital investments. The one thing that we often stress, a a lot of landlords tout that they do energy audits, and I think [00:38:00] you probably know this better than anyone, but the, the concept of performance drift.

Like you tune up the, you pay a lot of money, you tune up the building and then life happens, right? A tenant requests overtime, hvac, and it's granted and then never turned back, or a fire alarm goes off and it turns everything on 24 7 and nobody knows how or whatever it is right there. Unless there's realtime monitoring to, it.

Like, unless there's realtime monitoring, you'll fall off the bike, right? Rather than, uh, constantly adjusting. and then, and then obviously you, you've talked about it, committed carbon, right? If you, if you are not making capital investment decisions with carbon in mind, you're, you're making it almost impossible for your to, to reach net zero because you'll, your infrastructure just won't support it.

So those are kind of the three or four pieces in ESG 2.0 in our. I think there are, [00:39:00] one would argue, and this is just what we think about a lot, one would argue that there's, renewable energy deployments and carbon offset strategies or procurement strategies. But in terms of like operating the building, if you have engaged your operators, engaged your tenants, Put in realtime monitoring and have a like solid capital plan that takes carbon account.

You, you're, you're golden and you're in like the 99th percentile of, of

commercial real.

[00:39:32] James Dice: Yeah, that's one of the things you know, we're thinking about, you and I were talking a little bit about this before we hit record, but we're, we're talking about, you know, internally at Nexus, where do we want to go with our sort of decarbonization coverage? And I think one of the places we're gonna go with that is like, what does a framework or a roadmap look like that everyone can follow?

And the question you have when you start to think about, Is, where do you put procurement and offsets? Do you put it the beginning or do you put it at the [00:40:00] end? Right. And I think philosophically where I'm at, which is probably no surprise to anyone, uh, is put it at the end, right? Do everything you can do that decarbonize your own building right before you start to think about fun with numbers and, and math, math problems.

But what I've been trying to think about is like, is

[00:40:19] Comly Wilson: Right, they want to be Med Zero today.

Right. And that's the, the fastest way.

[00:40:23] James Dice: Yeah. Well, I, I, I'm trying to think about like, what do I think people should be thinking about it, like versus how are people actually thinking about it? And I have to sometimes like merge those two ways in which, so we'll, we'll see what we end up, uh, finalizing as like the framework sometimes soon.

But

yeah.

[00:40:42] Comly Wilson: one thing I want to bring up too is that, I mentioned the beginning that we do serve all asset types and like if, if you're an industrial portfolio, for example ESG 1.0 is actually way harder, . Um, And we've gotten a ton. [00:41:00] inbound demand from industrial portfolios saying the tenants control our utility data.

We cannot do this simple bill scraping strategy, but we need to report, we need to disclose our carbon emissions. So, for us, the, the solution is we'll go upstream from the tenants and we'll, we'll digitize the, the utility meter and the tenant meters. flow that data directly into EnergyStar and light up your portfolio that way.

And like the, the playbook does have to be altered depending on the property type. And like, if again, with industrial, these are triple net least assets, there are aren't any operators to engage, right? So it cuts straight to tenant engagement. like there's often, unless it's cold storage, there's not really the critical equipment to monitor.

But the landlords are, even though they don't maintain the equipment, they still, it's still their capital that's building the infrastructure. So, [00:42:00] yeah, it just, it, it's, it is important to recognize that even though it would be nice to say like, here's the playbook for decarbonization of commercial real

[00:42:10] James Dice: there is no, the

[00:42:11] Comly Wilson: It does have to get segmented. Yeah. By property type.

[00:42:15] James Dice: Yeah. Yeah. We'll, we'll, we'll look at doing that whenever we create it. Okay. I've been kind of put, and I've, I've known this is what we need to do for a long time, and I've kind of been pushing it off as I learn more and more about the problem. But yeah, you're right.

It probably needs to be segmented out to a bunch of different things. What, what I've realized to though is there's like, there's a couple different tracks to it, right? There's the data. right? And the data aspect covers the full life cycle, no matter how you do it. And then there's the action aspect and we need to retrofit, we need to actually go into our buildings and do stuff.

So I know I'm thinking about those being sort of two sort of parallel but connected tracks. But yeah, the order of operations matters in terms of how, how the money [00:43:00] flows, how the, the organizations flow together and all that. So well, well, hey, this has been a, a super fun conversation. Not only because I've been validated, but because I think you guys are on to something.

So let's, let's close out with some, some carve outs. Any books, TV shows, podcasts, movies, doesn't have to be from, from smart buildings that have, uh, made an impact on you.

[00:43:23] Comly Wilson: Well, uh, besides the Nexus Labs podcast I'm a huge history nerd and, uh, so I I, if you haven't read 1491 and 1493, those are fantastic books about the world before Europeans discovered the Americas. Uh, and then what happened immediately afterwards. And then more recent, those are maybe eight or 10 years old.

More recently last year or the year before that a book came out called The Dawn of Everything. Have you heard of.

[00:43:57] James Dice: I, I've heard of it, but I have not

[00:43:59] Comly Wilson: Okay, [00:44:00] it's fantastic. The premise is, uh, that we are taught that increasing size requires increasing hierarchy and complexity. And there are many examples throughout human history. In fact, most of human history until modern times.

Surprisingly, large groups of people operating in in a non-hierarchical fashion um, and kind of, uh, having strategies in their society that, uh, maximized everyone's wellbeing without a, a ruler or without. Without a, uh, an organizational structure. So, the tie in to, to smart buildings is, uh, when these become giant robots, uh, they'll all be operating on the edge and we [00:45:00] won't need the kind of central command structure that's currently in place.

There'll be, uh, there'll be independent and, uh, fully sentient. things, I don't know.

[00:45:13] James Dice: sounds like

that book sounds right up right up

my alley.

[00:45:17] Comly Wilson: the book is fantastic. Yeah,

[00:45:19] James Dice: Yeah.

David Graber, he's

got some, got some good books. David Graber, he's got, he wrote the one on debt. Yeah. Okay. I'm currently reading and I, I think I'm gonna buy that as soon as we get off the, the call here. That sounds really cool. I'm currently reading this book from 1971 written by John McPhee, who was a writer.

He wrote a bunch of fiction and non-fiction. He was a professor at Princeton as well. . He was actually Tim Ferris's writing teacher when Tim Ferris

went to Princeton to take this conversation full circle. But he wrote this book called, and my parents gave me this for Christmas, this totally random book selection by my parents, but [00:46:00] it's called Encounters with the Arch Stewart.

And it is him going on a backpacking trip with the founder of the Sierra Club, uh, a mining. An oil exploration expert. And they're backpacking through Glacier National Park and they're looking for copper because back then they were thinking about mining the park for copper and like

[00:46:26] Comly Wilson: it wasn't a national park or it was

[00:46:28] James Dice: it was like right by Glacier Peak.

Like Yeah, the, and I, and I haven't gotten to the point where, Yeah, yeah, yeah. I actually don't know what happened. I haven't looked it up yet. I'm kind of just reading it like, it's like it's modern day. But it's fascinating because he's like narrating his experience on this backpacking trip and obviously the Sierra Club guy is like hyper conservation and the mining guy is like, well, we need copper in our society.

Uh, and so he's like going back and forth and they're like arguing, but they're also like sleeping [00:47:00] in tents together. And it's just fascinating the way that he kind of weaves in these different ideological, philosophies. So definitely recommend that one.

[00:47:08] Comly Wilson: I'm gonna write that down. Personally, I believe the secret to life is to hold two seemingly contradictory thoughts at the same time. So that, that's awesome. That, have you ever read or heard of Seven Summits?

[00:47:23] James Dice: Nope. Mm-hmm.

[00:47:25] Comly Wilson: This is a good one. This is, two businessmen in the eighties, one of which was the president of I think Universal Studios, and the other was the owner of, uh, snowbird out in Colorado.

I think Snowbird, one of the, one of the, uh, the resorts out there independently had. The mission of becoming the first person to summit the highest peak on each of the seven continents. Nobody had ever done that up until this point, because, for example, you [00:48:00] needed $200,000 just to get to Antarctica at the time and, and, and all that.

So, it's a, it's a really good book about like people who are. Not, who had never really packed or been involved with mountaineering before, going for one of the most insane challenges possible. and then it's really funny

cuz the nice peak in Australia is like 2,400 feet. So they, uh, the, the last one is like a, a big celebration when

they, well I won't, I won't

ruin.

[00:48:35] James Dice: All right, calmly. Well, thanks so much for, for coming on the show. Our, our podcast editor, Zach, is gonna love these, this carve out section. It's his favorite part, and he's gonna, he's gonna love these, these book recommendations. So thanks for that and for, for sharing the knowledge.

[00:48:51] Comly Wilson: Yeah. Thanks for having me. This was, this was really fun. Really appreciate it.

[00:49:00]

Upgrade to Nexus Pro to continue reading

Upgrade

Upgrade to Nexus Pro to continue reading

Upgrade
“Tenants are struggling to achieve something that landlords have direct control over and that aligns with what landlords are struggling to do. Tenant submetering needs to be looked at and rethought."

—Comly Wilson

Welcome to Nexus, a newsletter and podcast for smart people applying smart building technology—hosted by James Dice. If you’re new to Nexus, you might want to start here.

The Nexus podcast (Apple | Spotify | YouTube | Other apps) is our chance to explore and learn with the brightest in our industry—together. The project is directly funded by listeners like you who have joined the Nexus Pro membership community.

You can join Nexus Pro to get a weekly-ish deep dive, access to the Nexus Vendor Landscape, and invites to exclusive events with a community of smart buildings nerds.

Before we dive in, I want to make sure everyone is aware of two initiatives we have going on at Nexus Labs. The first is our Jobs board. I’ll keep it short and suite: You can now pay a monhtly fee that allows you to put up to 3 job postings at a time into our newsletter that currently goes out to almost 6,000 doers in the smart buildings industry.

Second, we just announced our new partner program. We’re looking for only the top smart building technology vendors, I’m talking 3-5 in each category, to join this new program, where we work together to tell the stories that matter on that category. Reach out to us if you’re interested in being in our inner circle.

Episode 134 is a conversation with Comly Wilson, CMO at Enertiv.

Summary

I enjoyed this one because I believe in a lot of what Comly was saying about workflows being the key to decarbonizing buildings. And not just decarbonization, really implementing any new technology or changing the way things are done in any way requires you to start with the way people work currently and meet them where they’re at.

To that end, we spent most of the episode unpacking Comly’s hot take that 2022 was all about tenant experience and 2023 is going to be all about operator experience. So stay tuned for exactly what that means.


️️🏢 A message from our sponsor, Jaros, Baum & Bolles 🏢

Building intelligence engineering allows OT and IT systems to seamlessly and securely integrate with each other and onto common platforms. Creating a successful building intelligence strategy entails translating the owner’s goals to outcomes, use cases, intelligent building technologies, and enhanced MEP systems.

To learn more about what JB&B is calling “MEP 3.0” and the value of building intelligence design, as well as the difference between smart and intelligent buildings, listen to JB&B’s Division Lead’s conversation with the global certification company WiredScore.


Mentions and Links

  1. Enertiv (1:14)
  2. Nexus Jobs Board (1:54)
  3. Partnership Opportunities with Nexus (2:09)
  4. Operator Spotlight (16:07)
  5. Comly's LinkedIn Post (18:26)
  6. Tim Ferriss Podcast (34:27)
  7. 1491 by Charles C. Mann (43:35)
  8. 1493 by Charles C. Mann (43:35)
  9. The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow (43:55)
  10. Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPhee and Betty Crumley (45:37)
  11. Seven Summits by Dick Bass, Frank Wells, and Rick Ridgeway (47:22)

You can find Comly on LinkedIn.

Enjoy!

Highlights

  • Comly’s background (2:50)
  • About Enertiv (6:35)
  • 2022 was about TenX and 2023 is all about OpX (18:21)
  • How we create a concept of carbon on-site with our operational teams (28:31)
  • How landlords align with tenants (31:08)
  • ESG 2.0 playbook and what is needed moving forward (34:45)
  • Carveouts (43:12)

☁️ A message from our sponsor, SkySpark ☁️

SkySpark is a comprehensive software platform for connecting, storing, analyzing and visualizing data from smart devices and equipment systems. SkySpark’s automated analytics, KPIs, Energy and GhG Apps, turn your data into actionable intelligence providing improved performance, reduced downtime, and operational savings.

Head over to SkyFoundry.com for insightful white papers, case studies, and blog posts, as well as a link to sign up for a free demo.


👋 That's all for this week. See you next Thursday!

Whenever you're ready, there are 4 ways Nexus Labs can help you:

1. Take our shortcut to learning the Smart Buildings industry here (300 students and counting)

2. Join our community of smart buildings nerds and gamechangers here (400 members and counting)

3. (NEW) Join the Nexus Labs Syndicate for opportunities to invest in the best smart buildings startups that cross my desk each month.

4. (NEW) Our Partner Hub is launching soon. This is an opportunity to be featured on our website, get original content, and tap into the Nexus community. Email us at partners@nexuslabs.online


Music credit: Dream Big by Audiobinger—licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

Full transcript

Note: transcript was created using an imperfect machine learning tool and lightly edited by a human (so you can get the gist). Please forgive errors!

[00:00:33] James Dice: As we covered in our recent blog series on the five vital roles, smart buildings require engineers and engineering that allows OT and it systems to seamlessly and securely integrate with each other. And integrate with common platforms. Creating a successful building intelligence strategy entails translating the owner's goals to outcomes, use cases, intelligent building technologies and enhanced MEP systems.

To learn about what JB and B is calling [00:01:00] MEP 3.0 and the value of building intelligence design. Check out our friends at JB and B and specifically . Their podcast conversation with Wiredscore at the link in the show notes.

[00:01:11] James Dice: This episode is a conversation with calmly Wilson CMO at enter tive. I really enjoyed this one because I believe in a lot of what Kahn Lee was saying about workflow is being the key to decarbonizing buildings. And not just decarbonisation really implementing any new technology or changing the way things are done in any way requires you to start with the way people work currently and meet them where they're at.

To that end, we spent most of the episode unpacking Conley's hot. Take that 2022 was all about tenant experience and 20, 23 is going to be all about operator experience. So stay tuned for exactly what that means. Before we dive in, I want to make sure everyone is aware of two initiatives we have going on at nexus labs. The first is our jobs board. I'll keep that short and sweet.

You can now pay a monthly fee that allows you to put up to three job postings at one time into our [00:02:00] newsletter that goes out to currently 6,000 doers in the smart buildings industry. You can find that by going to our website and clicking on jobs. Second, we just announced our new partner program. We're looking for only the top smart building technology vendors and service providers. I'm talking three to five in each category ish to join our new program. We're going to work together to tell the stories that matter on each category.

So reach out to us. If you're interested in being in our inner circle and helping us plan out our editorial calendar for the year. So without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the nexus podcast with calmly Wilson.

[00:02:35] James Dice: Hello, calmly, welcome to the Nexus Podcast. I'm so excited to have you on. Can we start with your background? Can you take us through kind of educational background, professional background? What, what, what got you here?

[00:02:47] Comly Wilson: Sure, and thanks for having me. It's really, it's really great to be here. So I went to, uh, American University. I studied political science. I, I got into, uh, energy and environmental policy. [00:03:00] Thought I wanted to work in, uh, think tanks and nonprofits and my first job out of school was, was at a, a startup.

And I fell in love with the entrepreneurial side of things. I, I, uh, I had never thought that would be my path, but um, you know, that company got acquired, which was great to see. Got to work at the corporate version of that for, for a little while. Tried to launch my own little app.

It was like the idea was like the Mint Personal Finance app, but, but for your, your sustainability, which I think exists now. Uh, there's a couple of those. And then landed at Ener. Tiv. And so I've been here for the last, uh, five and a half years. It's been awesome to see the company grow from, uh, where it was to where it is and, and, and to see the market grow and, and.

Yeah, I, I'm the marketing director at, at niv and I, I'm fortunate enough to get to touch the business development side, the product development side and everything in between. So, [00:04:00] uh, it, it's just, it's been cool to, learn about this industry and become, become one of the, one of the voices.

[00:04:06] James Dice: Yeah, totally. You, you, you strike me as someone that's more technical than your average cmo, right? There are a lot of people in our industry that are in marketing. , no offense to any of those people, but you, you seem to be more technical, more hands on, more you understand more about the product, more about the, the people on the ground using your product than the typical marketing person.

Do I have that? Do I have that correct?

[00:04:32] Comly Wilson: I, I hope so. I, I think for me, that comes from um, trying everything I possibly can to understand our clients, uh, and, and, and know what they're going through, know what matters to them. . And if that requires getting technical, then, then so be it. So it, in my opinion, it'd be impossible to, to do marketing without being able to speak truthfully to the, to the pain points.

So I've, [00:05:00] I've gotten the opportunity to walk through boiler rooms and, and see what it's like and shadow engineers and that, that's, that's kind of baseline, uh, in my opinion for, for this kinda.

[00:05:10] James Dice: And that's funny you talked about the Mint for Sustainability app. I feel like I had that same idea at some point too. Uh, I'm, I'm like a heavy mint.com user, right? It just makes sense that there should be some aggregator for pulling all the different ways in which you consume carbon personally.

[00:05:30] Comly Wilson: Yeah.

[00:05:31] James Dice: what, what happened with that? How did it,

[00:05:33] Comly Wilson: I, I, I got like maybe. , I don't know, 150 users, and the data showed that they, almost all of them logged on. They would, uh, do one of two things, either leave and never come back or connect their, their utility account so they can see at least their like, home utility data in [00:06:00] there. And then leave and never come back. So I, I, being in startups before that, I believed the maximum of, of fail quickly. And, and so I shut it down relatively. You know, I, there wasn't any nugget of any thread that I could hold onto that, that people were gravitating to. So, yeah, I think that I've seen one recently that had a good business model.

I think they connect to your credit card and your utility account and.

They they basically sell you carbon offsets. So that's, that's how they make money on it. Which, is something

[00:06:34] James Dice: Something for sure. All right, let's talk about Ener tip. So can you talk about, for those people that haven't heard of Enart, what do you guys do? Where are you guys at? What types of clients do you serve?

[00:06:45] Comly Wilson: Yeah. So, we define ourselves as an operational intelligence platform. We, we serve all property types in commercial real estate. The, we, I know that operational intelligence doesn't, uh, mean anything [00:07:00] n yet . But, uh, to, to understand what we're going for, I think it's important to understand what the status quo is in commercial real estate.

So you know, if you're, if you're an owner operator or you're a large investment portfolio the, the teams on the ground will have, half a dozen different software solutions to manage their everyday workflows. And then the guys in the, the market over are also using a half dozen tools and they're different.

From the first group. So, we actually did a, a technology survey with one of our larger clients and across 53 of their assets, they had 50 unique technology vendors for the same five or six workflows that have to happen. So, you know, you aggregate this and, and, and there's just no transparency.

And so operational intelligence comes in because in order to have, in order to make intelligent decision, , you need transparency into, [00:08:00] into what's going on. We think there are two primary parts of that. There's data that's consolidated and there's data that's contextualized. So on the consolidated front, uh, NIV has built an all in one platform for.

Both workflow automation and real-time monitoring. There are four software modules. A, a maintenance app. It's a best-in-class cmms, uh, energy and ESG tool for, utility bill scraping and ESG reporting, a tenant billing tool for the the submetering process and the the billing process and a capital planning tool to bring that process out of spread.

And then the power ups come in where we integrate real-time data, whether that's from a BMS or whether that's sensors that, that we deploy. And we take those, workflows and we apply data driven insights and ultimately greater efficiency, fault detection improved [00:09:00] decision making on the, on the capital planning side.

And as importantly, So that's the consolidated front. the contextual front is we aim to serve each of the stakeholders where they are. So if you're a controls engineer, you log into Enterative and, and all the scatter plots with the KW to outside air temperature there. And you, you can, you can do your thing.

If you're a building engineer, you don't care about any of that. You just want to know what, what do I have to do right. , right? And if you're an asset manager, you don't care about any of that and you just want to know how are things going generally, right? What do I have to pay attention to? Are there any issues sneaking up on me that I need to get ahead of?

So, in a nutshell, we are delivering transparency for commercial real estate owners and.

[00:09:49] James Dice: Totally. And so, and commercial real estate is primarily landlords or your customer.

[00:09:55] Comly Wilson: Landlords investment portfolios, uh, who don't [00:10:00] necessarily operate their own buildings. They, they usually have the least transparency when it comes into operations. So, yeah, definitely both of those. And we have seen some traction with large occupiers or, or corporate entities as well, but,

[00:10:15] James Dice: Okay. Yeah. The, the focus on which stakeholder or which end user is. Really interesting. I haven't seen a lot of people doing that. That, same data underneath and then contextually providing whatever that, user and their role requires. I don't know that had, I don't know that I have a question around that.

It, it seems like you guys have probably read my writing and it's been resonating because you, you like, respond and comment a lot of what I've written about that. Have you, have you, has that been resonating with your customers? Uh, how long have you guys been doing that? Can you talk a little bit more about that piece?

[00:10:51] Comly Wilson: Yeah, sure. So Enterative started as an equipment monitoring company solely. So, [00:11:00] um, the, the original insight was many buildings don't have a building management system. , even those that do, it doesn't cover every system or it's so old that you can't integrate with it. So the, the founders developed a branch circuit meter that they could, uh, affordably deploy in buildings and get real time electrical demand data from hundreds of pieces of equipment.

So, They, went to their early customers and they said, look, this is data that you've never seen before. This is a novel data set that, that can allow you to make better decisions. And they would go, oh my God, look, I can see my chiller is consuming six kw of power right now. What does that mean?

Is that good? Is that bad? What, what's the context here? So from there it was, okay, now we have to develop algorithms and analytics. translate this kind of raw data into insights and into optimizations. And one of [00:12:00] the big, I wouldn't say pivot, but one of the big turning points in the company's history was truthfully transparency into equipment level, energy data is important.

But that's just one small piece. One area where owners and operators don't have transparency, they don't know if maintenance has been performed. They don't know if they're gonna have to replace any piece of equipment soon. They don't know what their tenants are consuming. They don't know any of this stuff.

So there was pre covid a move to let's. understand what building operators are working with today. And in the cases where we think we can do, we can serve them better than, than their spreadsheets or their legacy apps. Let's build that for them and let's connect these two. Let's connect that to our kind of core business.

When Covid hit that accelerated rapidly, uh, all of a sudden[00:13:00] the idea of deploying sensors to, to track real time equipment, level data was, was interesting. But like we, many portfolios realized that they wanted to do things rapidly at scale. And software is a lot easier to do that with than than going building by building.

With integrations. So when you get into that space, kind of one thing leads to another and, you cannot we've, we've gotten to the point where we understand fully that if, if we want a building engineer to implement the optimizations that Ntif can identify, we believe. Wholeheartedly that we need to deliver value to him in his regular day before we start saying, Hey, there's another thing you need to do on top of everything else.

[00:13:52] James Dice: Yep. Yep.

[00:13:53] Comly Wilson: Likewise, uh, asset managers are often the ones signing the check and they [00:14:00] sign the check and then they get a bunch of tools that they, they've never used or will never use. They, because often, especially now, uh, asset managers are being asked to speak to ESG goals, right? They, they have to be well versed in this stuff. They can, we cannot expect them to suddenly become highly technical and used tools that were designed for engineers. We need to translate that to, to Like a zero to 100 trended score.

What you know, what is your maintenance score? Right? Something, something that anybody could understand. So a lot of it happened organically. A lot of it happened just by working and listening to working with commercial real estate owners, operators, and listening to what their needs were and and innovating on their behalf.

[00:14:50] James Dice: Yeah, it's really interesting me watching, you know, coming from a very technical role in the industry. You know, My, the first 10 years of my career being an engineer, [00:15:00] working with F D D, working with analytics. And then kind of providing what my customers needed to know from that. Right. So if I'm talking to the controls guy, I might pull up that scatter plot.

Like you said, if I'm talking to the, property manager, I might just say, shit's pretty messed up, . Right. You know, um, It's, it's been interesting watching it, watching the sort of product landscape evolve because I feel like there are still a lot of F d D companies that are sort of stuck in that.

We're gonna show you all of the information, and we're gonna expect whoever logs in here to get something out of it. But I think there's a whole different crop of software developers that are sitting here saying, well, who's logging in? Right? And, and how can I, like, basically take that same analytical insight and insert those into the right workflows for that person.

So I'm, I'm glad to hear that that's resonating and that that's sort of how you guys are thinking as.

[00:15:56] Comly Wilson: it is, uh, it's wild too when [00:16:00] you like, , there's all this abstract technology stuff. And then when you try to map that to the real world, we, we do a, we do a series called a Operator spotlight where we'll just, we'll interview a, a building operator and learn about what his day-to-day is like, and one quote will always stick with me.

I was like, how much time does this save you? Right? How much you have this new technology? How much time does that save you? , the way he put it is like, it's not in terms of minutes and hours. It's, I walk into a mechanical room and I know that two years ago we replaced the motor on one of these 12 pumps, but nobody knows which

[00:16:43] James Dice: which one

[00:16:44] Comly Wilson: So, so what do I do? I, I, I go back and I dig through my email for some sign of which,

[00:16:52] James Dice: Mm-hmm.

[00:16:53] Comly Wilson: while I'm doing that, I get a call because something has happened somewhere in the building, and so I have to go deal with that, [00:17:00] right? So that takes up the rest of my day. I, I come back to my desk the next day and, oh, I have a better idea than email.

I'll look through this spreadsheet that I keep on projects that had happened, right? Capital plan, handle plans and projects, and I'm, I'm digging through that. I'm almost there and I get another emergency call and this keeps happening. And so it's not minutes and hours. Uh, it took me a whole week to get the answer to the question that I, that I had.

That means I can't, I'm, I'm just stuck. Right. For, for a whole week not making decisions, not, uh, getting work done. That, that's like a perfect example of like, it doesn't matter how sophisticated your F D D program is, if your, if your operator is. experiencing their, their work like this. The, there's some stat that operators spend 18% of their day looking for information that's, that's one day out of the week.

They're, they're just looking for [00:18:00] stuff. Right? And then, you have sustainability teams come and say that, okay, now it's time for an energy treasure hunt. We expect you. Analyze all your systems and figure out wherever you can save energy. It's like I can't even get to my core responsibilities.

How am I supposed to do this effectively?

[00:18:20] James Dice: Totally. All right, let's talk about the, the how then. So I, I loved this LinkedIn post you posted, and I think it had like seven people like it, and I thought like 700, 700 people should have liked it. But the, the basically said 2022 is all about tenant experience. 2023 is gonna be all about. Operator experience.

And we're kind of talking that about that a little bit, but maybe you could just start with, I'm not gonna read the whole post, but talk about why you're predicting 2023 to be about that operator experience.

[00:18:56] Comly Wilson: Yeah, well,

[00:18:58] James Dice: I.

[00:18:58] Comly Wilson: again, some context is [00:19:00] important. Not only our, our owners and asset managers waking up and realizing they have no transparency. They don't know what's going on. But the labor market for building operators is extremely tough. Many of, like the majority of them are over 50, many are retiring sooner than was expected.

Really nobody to replace them. Meanwhile, inflation's rising, interest rates are rising, there's concerns about recession and uh, there's kind of a tightening budgets. And then there's all this scrutiny around from investors around esg, from regulators on, on carbon emissions, from tenants are expecting more than ever.

So, the context is we like as a commercial real estate portfolio, , we have to do more with less. How do we do that? How do we, how do we engage our onsite teams to do better than they've ever done with fewer of [00:20:00] them or or with less resources generally

[00:20:03] James Dice: And you said the, like you said this earlier a little bit. I just wanna kind of go back to it. The, the key to that is sort of becoming, this is my own word. my own wording, but sort of becoming the place where their work gets done, their, their core job, not the other stuff that you're adding onto their plate with decarbonization and whatever, but where, where does their core job get done?

And it sounds like that's what you guys have decided. Hey, we're gonna be the core place where you get your work done and that's gonna be actually the best place to engage them on these new initiatives that need to be

paid

[00:20:39] Comly Wilson: That's exactly right. And, and not only, so you know, you go into a mechanical room, there's a $500,000 chiller, and the, the maintenance log is a piece of loose leaf that's been ripped off and. On the chiller. Right? Uh, so similar to this, this example I gave [00:21:00] earlier about which pump motor had been replaced the first thing we do is a layer of digitization.

So, like, let's take pictures of every piece of equipment. , digitize that nameplate information. Let's pull in the ONM manuals and warranties and service agreements and everything related to that piece of equipment and make it accessible. Either by logging into the platform or through like an asset tag, a QR code sticker in the field.

So if you're that building operator and you just need to know what the deal is, like, is this under warranty? scan the asset tag, and I have my answer right, like, that's true value to to, to a building operator. You've, you've saved them a tremendous amount of headache and time. If that same app also has their preventative maintenance schedule, it has their inspection schedule.

If they need to do meter reads for tenant sub metering, it's all in there.

[00:21:54] James Dice: Mm-hmm.

[00:21:55] Comly Wilson: It, the, the most recent capital plan is in there. All these kind of [00:22:00] like workflow things that have to happen, work orders from tenants even better. And then if that same app can say, Hey, by the way, we predict that the elevator motor, uh, has experienced enough degradation that it, it should be maintained now, uh, to avoid a, a shutdown even better.

Or you. , change your chiller set point by two degrees and you'll save $25,000 a year like that. Like what a different experience for an operator to, to use a tool every single day to walk the building to, to perform core responsibilities. That same thing has insights being delivered on a regular basis rather than like, corporate said we have to care about energy efficiency.

So like, let's do a three day energy treasure hunt. And you, you have to fit this into your schedule somehow.

[00:22:53] James Dice: Or, or how I think a lot of the smart buildings industry wants them to think, which is, here's this other [00:23:00] application. Go log into that other

thing that doesn't have any of that context that you just talked about. Doesn't have any of their core responsibilities. It's extra and just like you talked about, the guy that can't seem to find his get, get time to dig into his email.

Are they really gonna have time to dig into that other application? Right? Yeah.

[00:23:20] Comly Wilson: The really cool thing about tying these together is that , the, the realtime monitoring doesn't have to stop at F D D now, right? It doesn't have to stop at energy savings, like basic set point and scheduling savings, right? If with realtime monitoring, we can calculate runtime hours, so let's look at that preventative maintenance schedule and not have to base it off, uh, a calendar.

We can base it off how much the equipment actually. , what a novel concept. Like you, you actually could save a bunch of time because you're over maintaining these systems. Or, our capital plan [00:24:00] says to replace this, this piece of equipment this year because the manufacturer said so , right? Like, let's look at the maintenance history.

Let's look at the, the, the, his history of faults and, and the, the actual carbon emissions and determine whether. equipment needs to be replaced this year. So like there's one plus one equals like 50 in our, in our minds.

[00:24:23] James Dice: totally. So I imagine one of the main areas of pushback you guys get, and you correct me if I'm wrong, , I'll just tell a little story about my own business, right? So I'm looking for some sort of way to sort of project out cash flow and as any small business kind of is project out cash flow, run different scenarios.

And in that, I'm looking at my like Excel spreadsheet that I've been using for three years, since the beginning of Nexus that has all the cash flow information. And the, I'm looking at these software providers and they're basically [00:25:00] expecting me to kind of, in a deep way learn how their software works, but then not only that, but take the leap and say, N now I'm gonna run my business exactly how you guys.

Thought about how I should run my business, right when you develop this product. Right. And what I did was I trialed three of 'em, and then I realized these don't apply to me. Like I, I'm gonna keep running my business in Excel. Basically. I just needed, I just need a more detailed Excel spreadsheet to, to do projections.

So I'd imagine like there's a, there's a pushback a little bit, which is, I, I'm running it this way now. I don't have time to run it. How, how I am running. And I especially don't have time to then figure out a new way to run my building based on how your guys' software works. Do you guys, do you guys struggle with that?

Because I feel like a lot of people, when you start to get into workflows, you start to say, well, the old way that you were doing your workflows was not good. You need to [00:26:00] do it on, on our, our system. And I feel like that's a big leap sometimes for people that are already really busy.

[00:26:07] Comly Wilson: Yeah. Yeah. No, I think every. software as a solution provider in the world probably faces this. Just inertia is one of the biggest competitors for us.

[00:26:20] James Dice: it's really easy to tear out a loose leaf page and just

[00:26:23] Comly Wilson: yeah, for sure. So the, the reason that we've been growing at, at the rate we have is because the world is changing in a way. that's flipping that equation, right?

It's, it's going from, well, it would be nice, but it sounds like we'd have to, change some things to like, oh my God, if we don't change, we're doomed . Right? And it, it changes the equation, right? Like, if, if you're trying to raise capital and the [00:27:00] institutional investors are saying, , uh, not only do we need a, basic kind of carbon disclosure thing, but we need to see an action plan, an actual results, actual performance improvements.

And you go, uh, who's on top of it? Like, who's who, how are we gonna do this? And nobody has a good answer. Suddenly you, you look at those spreadsheets and you look at the. Email chains that have been good enough and, like, it, it's true what you're saying is, commercial real estate has been wildly successful for a long time running the way it has.

And it's who can, who can blame them for continuing to want to do that? But I think the world is, is kind of forcing them to.

[00:27:44] James Dice: Totally,

[00:27:50] James Dice: As we impact on one of our most popular episodes ever. Episode 44 with the legendary John petsy sky spark is a comprehensive software [00:28:00] platform for connecting, storing, analyzing, and visualizing data from devices and equipment systems, sky sparks, automated analytics, KPIs, energy, and greenhouse gas apps.

Turn your data into actionable intelligence, providing improved performance, reduced downtime and operational savings. Head over to sky foundry.com for insightful white papers, case studies and blog posts. As well as the link to sign up for a free demo.

[00:28:26] Comly Wilson: I might have stolen that from you.

[00:28:28] James Dice: No. No, I don't think you did. I don't think I said that, but I, I like this like, concept of carbon.

So can you talk, can you talk more about how you actually, besides like the sheer panic that you just described of like, oh, we can't raise money from institutional investors. How, how do you see this, this concept of carbon being created with, with operational, with operator?

[00:28:50] Comly Wilson: yeah, for sure. I, we, we try to tie every activity that we possibly can, not only to dollars and cents, but also to [00:29:00] carbon. And we hear over and over again from really smart, sophisticated landlords. Like at the, at the enterprise scale, they have a pretty good sense of, of carbon and carbon accounting, but when it comes to, to the site, all of that is out the window and it's, it's a different language.

It's never thought about until it's explicitly brought up to them. So connecting the dots there, uh, and creating a feedback loop, uh, we, we think is super duper critical. How do we do that? , for example. If, if you, if you have capital plans in spreadsheets and I, I've seen a 140 building portfolio that has us one Excel with 140 different tabs for the, for the capital plan for each property those decisions are being made.

Property managers, engineers, and then approved by asset managers, none of whom have a concept of carbon, [00:30:00] right? That, and then maybe on the big ticket items, sustainability comes in and says, whoa, whoa, whoa. Don't buy another boiler. Like, we need to find a, an, uh, electrification option here.

But there's no way that they can do that for every single line of 'em. There's just, there's just too much and too many. . Um, So in that example, we believe that bringing this process, this workflow out of spreadsheets and into software, we can break down those silos in the organization. We can, we can make sure that the decisions that are being made are made.

the, a full picture of the maintenance history with a full picture of the committed carbon after you make this decision. And, and the, the property's cash flows. So, like that, that's, that's one example of creating a, a, a concept of carbon on site

[00:30:58] James Dice: Got it, got it. [00:31:00] I bet when you wrote that post, you didn't think of us spending like 30 minutes digging into every, every line on it. I just realized that,

[00:31:07] Comly Wilson: But I didn't think it could happen.

[00:31:08] James Dice: but back to the first line though, you talked about tenant experience. I'm wondering then the concept of carbon on site. You're mostly talking about operational folks.

How do you then bridge that? That's like the, what I call like the portfolio site gap. We have to bridge that gap, those two different silos, portfolio folks and site folks. What about the third gap, which is the tenants, right? Or the third silo. How do you then sort of bring them in and get them aligned with the, what the landlords are trying to do and, and vice.

[00:31:38] Comly Wilson: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if I could, if I could shout anything from the mountaintop, it would probably be this, it's, it's tenant experience has, has been talked about for three years and it's been centered around like yoga and dog walking and ordering coffee. . Meanwhile [00:32:00] occupiers, corporate occupiers are paying ener to centralize their various submeter bills because they have their own ESG reporting requirements at the end of the year.

Right. And they just need a central repository to pull that from. And they, they get, they get, like, tenant submetering is probably the least sexy.

[00:32:22] James Dice: Mm-hmm.

[00:32:23] Comly Wilson: the least sexy workflow of all the workflows. But it's so important. It's like, it's so easy to to, for it to be an afterthought. Like, we bill them out and they pay their bill along with the rent and that's that right?

But tenants are struggling to achieve something that the landlords ha not only have a direct control over. But that aligns with the same thing that landlords are struggling to do, right? So, tenant sun metering needs to be really, really looked at and, and rethought. We, we have [00:33:00] some, we have a number of clients who really get it and they've seen the, the benefits of a kind of modern tenant submetering program.

What that looks like is bills. Are not so opaque, right? They're very, very clear. And they also talk about carbon equivalencies, and they also show ranks within the building. Like, you know, you spend five and a half dollars per square foot on electricity when the average tenant in this building spends, 2 25, like, , you should know that

And then, and then some poor soul at this corporate entity, instead of having to go through emails and pull out PDFs and manually type that into their ESG reporting tool they can go into the enterative tenant portal and download all that, all that data in a snap and just, and just send it to their, their reporting tool.[00:34:00] The other cool thing about having like a, a platform that is not just another tenant Submetering point solution is that that same tenant portal they can submit their maintenance tickets to. So, like something again that the tenants are gonna use on a regular basis also becomes this energy and carbon.

Uh, source of information, so,

[00:34:24] James Dice: Totally. That reminded me of um, I, I listened to the, the Tim Ferris podcast a lot, and he always asks guests, if you could put something on a billboard, what would you put, what would you, what would you put on it? And, uh, I feel like there's something there. I think you gotta, you gotta shorten your message a little bit. But yeah, there, there's, there's definitely something there. Yes. Tenant submetering matters. All right, cool. So we talked a little bit about the tenant experience, operator experience. You, you also have this concept that I saw you guys posted about, which was ESG 2.0 and the ESG 2.0 playbook. So [00:35:00] maybe we could start by what, what is, what was ESG 1.0 and then kind of what, what is the, the next version of that?

[00:35:08] Comly Wilson: Yeah. Simply put, ESG 1.0 is dis is reporting and disclosure. Right? It's, it's just compiling your mostly utility bills and submitting that to Energy Star and GREs and, and all these. Different frameworks along maybe with your kind of social standards and governance policies. That was ESG 1.0 set the, set the benchmark.

I think it was a necessary step. Small point on the, uh, on the like tenant billing piece, a lot of, landlords are still struggling with ESG 1.0. They get, at the end of the year, they have thousands of utility bills. These pretty much every provider is doing the same process, right? They're downloading these bills, they're using OCR to, to scrape the data out.

And they're, [00:36:00] they're digitizing it that way. And there's errors, right? Because we have, because we're a. a basically a bill producer. You know, we have this tenant submetering service and we produce bills on a monthly basis. We have the infrastructure to audit and verify and make sure that these, these bills are accurate.

We do it on the utility bill and the tenant bills. So like a lot of landlords have gotten stuck at this ESG 1.0 step. They say like, well, we got this software and, and now we have all this data. Now we gotta hire a consultant to clean it up. And the consultant advises us to have the onsite team submitted manually anyway, because that's more likely to be accurate.

And it's just like, oh no.

[00:36:44] James Dice: Oh God.

[00:36:46] Comly Wilson: that's, that's 1.0 in our minds 2.0 is, is doing something about it. Right. I, I think we've covered a lot of it. I think it starts with the onsite teams. There's an awesome stat recently from Energy Star. , [00:37:00] they surveyed energy star certified buildings and asked them what the biggest factor was in their certification.

And 69% said operations and maintenance over, retrofits, over tenant engagement, over smart building tools. IT operations and maintenance was their, their number one choice. So I think it makes sense to start there. And we've, we've talked about that piece. Tenants make up, 60, 70, 80% of the total consumption.

So obviously engaging that with the tenant, submetering matters billboard, uh, is part of this. And then something that I think you talk about all the time is, is like the third piece is real time monitoring. And. , uh, capital investments. The one thing that we often stress, a a lot of landlords tout that they do energy audits, and I think [00:38:00] you probably know this better than anyone, but the, the concept of performance drift.

Like you tune up the, you pay a lot of money, you tune up the building and then life happens, right? A tenant requests overtime, hvac, and it's granted and then never turned back, or a fire alarm goes off and it turns everything on 24 7 and nobody knows how or whatever it is right there. Unless there's realtime monitoring to, it.

Like, unless there's realtime monitoring, you'll fall off the bike, right? Rather than, uh, constantly adjusting. and then, and then obviously you, you've talked about it, committed carbon, right? If you, if you are not making capital investment decisions with carbon in mind, you're, you're making it almost impossible for your to, to reach net zero because you'll, your infrastructure just won't support it.

So those are kind of the three or four pieces in ESG 2.0 in our. I think there are, [00:39:00] one would argue, and this is just what we think about a lot, one would argue that there's, renewable energy deployments and carbon offset strategies or procurement strategies. But in terms of like operating the building, if you have engaged your operators, engaged your tenants, Put in realtime monitoring and have a like solid capital plan that takes carbon account.

You, you're, you're golden and you're in like the 99th percentile of, of

commercial real.

[00:39:32] James Dice: Yeah, that's one of the things you know, we're thinking about, you and I were talking a little bit about this before we hit record, but we're, we're talking about, you know, internally at Nexus, where do we want to go with our sort of decarbonization coverage? And I think one of the places we're gonna go with that is like, what does a framework or a roadmap look like that everyone can follow?

And the question you have when you start to think about, Is, where do you put procurement and offsets? Do you put it the beginning or do you put it at the [00:40:00] end? Right. And I think philosophically where I'm at, which is probably no surprise to anyone, uh, is put it at the end, right? Do everything you can do that decarbonize your own building right before you start to think about fun with numbers and, and math, math problems.

But what I've been trying to think about is like, is

[00:40:19] Comly Wilson: Right, they want to be Med Zero today.

Right. And that's the, the fastest way.

[00:40:23] James Dice: Yeah. Well, I, I, I'm trying to think about like, what do I think people should be thinking about it, like versus how are people actually thinking about it? And I have to sometimes like merge those two ways in which, so we'll, we'll see what we end up, uh, finalizing as like the framework sometimes soon.

But

yeah.

[00:40:42] Comly Wilson: one thing I want to bring up too is that, I mentioned the beginning that we do serve all asset types and like if, if you're an industrial portfolio, for example ESG 1.0 is actually way harder, . Um, And we've gotten a ton. [00:41:00] inbound demand from industrial portfolios saying the tenants control our utility data.

We cannot do this simple bill scraping strategy, but we need to report, we need to disclose our carbon emissions. So, for us, the, the solution is we'll go upstream from the tenants and we'll, we'll digitize the, the utility meter and the tenant meters. flow that data directly into EnergyStar and light up your portfolio that way.

And like the, the playbook does have to be altered depending on the property type. And like, if again, with industrial, these are triple net least assets, there are aren't any operators to engage, right? So it cuts straight to tenant engagement. like there's often, unless it's cold storage, there's not really the critical equipment to monitor.

But the landlords are, even though they don't maintain the equipment, they still, it's still their capital that's building the infrastructure. So, [00:42:00] yeah, it just, it, it's, it is important to recognize that even though it would be nice to say like, here's the playbook for decarbonization of commercial real

[00:42:10] James Dice: there is no, the

[00:42:11] Comly Wilson: It does have to get segmented. Yeah. By property type.

[00:42:15] James Dice: Yeah. Yeah. We'll, we'll, we'll look at doing that whenever we create it. Okay. I've been kind of put, and I've, I've known this is what we need to do for a long time, and I've kind of been pushing it off as I learn more and more about the problem. But yeah, you're right.

It probably needs to be segmented out to a bunch of different things. What, what I've realized to though is there's like, there's a couple different tracks to it, right? There's the data. right? And the data aspect covers the full life cycle, no matter how you do it. And then there's the action aspect and we need to retrofit, we need to actually go into our buildings and do stuff.

So I know I'm thinking about those being sort of two sort of parallel but connected tracks. But yeah, the order of operations matters in terms of how, how the money [00:43:00] flows, how the, the organizations flow together and all that. So well, well, hey, this has been a, a super fun conversation. Not only because I've been validated, but because I think you guys are on to something.

So let's, let's close out with some, some carve outs. Any books, TV shows, podcasts, movies, doesn't have to be from, from smart buildings that have, uh, made an impact on you.

[00:43:23] Comly Wilson: Well, uh, besides the Nexus Labs podcast I'm a huge history nerd and, uh, so I I, if you haven't read 1491 and 1493, those are fantastic books about the world before Europeans discovered the Americas. Uh, and then what happened immediately afterwards. And then more recent, those are maybe eight or 10 years old.

More recently last year or the year before that a book came out called The Dawn of Everything. Have you heard of.

[00:43:57] James Dice: I, I've heard of it, but I have not

[00:43:59] Comly Wilson: Okay, [00:44:00] it's fantastic. The premise is, uh, that we are taught that increasing size requires increasing hierarchy and complexity. And there are many examples throughout human history. In fact, most of human history until modern times.

Surprisingly, large groups of people operating in in a non-hierarchical fashion um, and kind of, uh, having strategies in their society that, uh, maximized everyone's wellbeing without a, a ruler or without. Without a, uh, an organizational structure. So, the tie in to, to smart buildings is, uh, when these become giant robots, uh, they'll all be operating on the edge and we [00:45:00] won't need the kind of central command structure that's currently in place.

There'll be, uh, there'll be independent and, uh, fully sentient. things, I don't know.

[00:45:13] James Dice: sounds like

that book sounds right up right up

my alley.

[00:45:17] Comly Wilson: the book is fantastic. Yeah,

[00:45:19] James Dice: Yeah.

David Graber, he's

got some, got some good books. David Graber, he's got, he wrote the one on debt. Yeah. Okay. I'm currently reading and I, I think I'm gonna buy that as soon as we get off the, the call here. That sounds really cool. I'm currently reading this book from 1971 written by John McPhee, who was a writer.

He wrote a bunch of fiction and non-fiction. He was a professor at Princeton as well. . He was actually Tim Ferris's writing teacher when Tim Ferris

went to Princeton to take this conversation full circle. But he wrote this book called, and my parents gave me this for Christmas, this totally random book selection by my parents, but [00:46:00] it's called Encounters with the Arch Stewart.

And it is him going on a backpacking trip with the founder of the Sierra Club, uh, a mining. An oil exploration expert. And they're backpacking through Glacier National Park and they're looking for copper because back then they were thinking about mining the park for copper and like

[00:46:26] Comly Wilson: it wasn't a national park or it was

[00:46:28] James Dice: it was like right by Glacier Peak.

Like Yeah, the, and I, and I haven't gotten to the point where, Yeah, yeah, yeah. I actually don't know what happened. I haven't looked it up yet. I'm kind of just reading it like, it's like it's modern day. But it's fascinating because he's like narrating his experience on this backpacking trip and obviously the Sierra Club guy is like hyper conservation and the mining guy is like, well, we need copper in our society.

Uh, and so he's like going back and forth and they're like arguing, but they're also like sleeping [00:47:00] in tents together. And it's just fascinating the way that he kind of weaves in these different ideological, philosophies. So definitely recommend that one.

[00:47:08] Comly Wilson: I'm gonna write that down. Personally, I believe the secret to life is to hold two seemingly contradictory thoughts at the same time. So that, that's awesome. That, have you ever read or heard of Seven Summits?

[00:47:23] James Dice: Nope. Mm-hmm.

[00:47:25] Comly Wilson: This is a good one. This is, two businessmen in the eighties, one of which was the president of I think Universal Studios, and the other was the owner of, uh, snowbird out in Colorado.

I think Snowbird, one of the, one of the, uh, the resorts out there independently had. The mission of becoming the first person to summit the highest peak on each of the seven continents. Nobody had ever done that up until this point, because, for example, you [00:48:00] needed $200,000 just to get to Antarctica at the time and, and, and all that.

So, it's a, it's a really good book about like people who are. Not, who had never really packed or been involved with mountaineering before, going for one of the most insane challenges possible. and then it's really funny

cuz the nice peak in Australia is like 2,400 feet. So they, uh, the, the last one is like a, a big celebration when

they, well I won't, I won't

ruin.

[00:48:35] James Dice: All right, calmly. Well, thanks so much for, for coming on the show. Our, our podcast editor, Zach, is gonna love these, this carve out section. It's his favorite part, and he's gonna, he's gonna love these, these book recommendations. So thanks for that and for, for sharing the knowledge.

[00:48:51] Comly Wilson: Yeah. Thanks for having me. This was, this was really fun. Really appreciate it.

[00:49:00]

⭐️ Pro Article

This article is for Nexus Pro members only

Upgrade to Nexus Pro
⭐️ Pro Article

This article is for Nexus Pro members only

Upgrade to Nexus Pro

Are you a Nexus Pro member yet? Join now to get access to our community of 600+ members.

Join Today

Have you taken our Smart Building Strategist Course yet? Sign up to get access to our courses platform.

Enroll Now

Get the renowned Nexus Newsletter

Access the Nexus Community

Head over to Nexus Connect and see what’s new in the community. Don’t forget to check out the latest member-only events.

Go to Nexus Connect

Upgrade to Nexus Pro

Join Nexus Pro and get full access including invite-only member gatherings, access to the community chatroom Nexus Connect, networking opportunities, and deep dive essays.

Sign Up