Hi. We have a special guest today, Jared Smith is the sustainability officer for the University of Colorado at Denver and he's done a lot of the sort of changes that we imagine you're going to be doing in your career. And it's going to be great to have Jared talk. So his story is about how he got things done, how he maybe didn't get some things done and what it takes to be a change agent in a big organization. So thanks for being here, Jared. My pleasure, John. First question. If you were just joining an organization for the very first time, what sort of changes would you look for? How would you do, kind of, a survey and identify things that would be viable changes for a young person in their career to make? I think - you know, just approaching an organization, I would want to know exactly what has been done, what's going on within the culture of that organization. My focus is the same, building off a series - a lot on our facilities environmental impacts and whatnot. And so I would want to know going in, you know, what opportunities are there? What opportunities have already been taken? Are there things that you can do going in that you can immediately prove some successes toward? Because I think those are important to establish, you know, your position, your responsibilities. And your importance to the organization is to be able to go in from the beginning and say we can achieve this. From my perspective, looking at energy efficiency and conservation projects in our buildings on campus, that was the first thing that I looked at. There was plenty of opportunity for that at the time. And we've worked over the course of eight years to kind of, you know, touch on all the kind of the low-hanging fruit, the things that would give us the biggest bang for our buck, the biggest kind of payback and best payback analysis. So knowing going into an organization that there's a - there's a way to succeed and have some of those early exit successes, that really opens you up kind of down the road to be able to, maybe ask for money for bigger projects or to dig a little deeper into the culture of your organization saying we've succeeded here. It's time to move to this next phase in order to see if we can succeed here. Great. So if you proposed something and you do the financial analysis and it doesn't make sense financially - and our university is somewhat budget constrained; I mean, people watch dollars here. How do you go about sort of pushing that through? You know, you and I both know that there are some things that we need to do and the money may not show that it should be done right now. What can you do to add on to the financial analysis and kind of get over the hump? I think unfortunately, the first thing you have to get used to is hearing the word no. And hopefully with that, you are communicating - like say, if there's a specific project you want in a new building that you're constructing. And I can think of a number of buildings that we've done where I've been told no, we can't do that. We can't afford it, it's not in the budget and say our facility's group is uncomfortable because it's a new technology. I think what you want to do in a situation like that is turn that into - that no into a not - maybe not right now and set yourself up for winning that argument the next time of how - how you can succeed with - with a specific project. A lot of times you won't be able to show that this affects our bottom line in the best way. And so you won't be able to move forward with certain projects, but you can sometimes insert things into the next project that comes along and say we looked at this last time and it wasn't feasible; but either the technology has evolved, or our organization has evolved to a point that we're ready for this and it does make financial sense moving forward to do this. So this is a war of many small battles. It is. And you have to be prepared to hear the word no. But also, don't let it deter you; keep moving forward because it will eventually make financial sense. Sustainability at its very least is going to affect your bottom line positively moving forward. It's hard to have that mindset sometimes when projects are happening so quickly and underneath such a constrained budget, but if you can keep the conversation going from one project to the next, I think you're going to succeed at some point. So the people you - you deal with, a lot of them are former academics, they're smart people, they understand how the world works up to a point. Are they - are they receptive to the sustainability arguments? Yes. On the academic side, I would say people are definitely receptive to this sustainability - not arguments, but more the tenants of like, how does this make sense for our organization? You know, how are we affecting people's, you know, environmental footprint, our campus' environmental footprint. How are we affecting, you know, social equity amongst the populace, amongst our community? Are the economics making sense for us? And I think that they all get that to some extent. There's different viewpoints in how those things are achieved, but to a certain extent, I think that they get it. Where I think we have a little more problem is with more - and I'm not throwing anybody under the bus here because people have a job to do - but the people that have the money, you know, are always wanting to make sure that it's used, you know, for the best and most benefit of the university purpose at the time. And so we say we have a new construction project or a major renovation project, you know, we're trying to make the best space for people to work in, for people to study in, for people to learn and take what they've learned and then go out in the community and make the world a better place. But we're also doing that on a fixed budget within about a two year time limit. And so planning for sustainability in that amount of time is difficult. And like I said before, you kind of need to be ready to go each time something new comes along, to be able to say but we've got this; can we incorporate this into this project or into this - this idea that we're moving forward on? And it also needs to start from the beginning. People need to hear it from the beginning. You have to be in - once the planning department and then the projects department has already developed the project, you're too late. You've got to be there for those initial conversations. In an earlier class, you talked about the design phase and how during the design phase, maybe five or 10 percent of a budget is spent, but 80 or 90 percent of the lifetime costs of say, a building, are determined. Is that what you found? Around that. Yeah, absolutely. You know, with the design phase, you are determining the next 100 years; you know, that's what we're shooting for is a 100 year building. Probably should be shooting for longer than that a lot of the time, but that's - that's what we can determine at this point, you know. And you're looking at the life cycle costs of the building, but it does happen in that design phase. How is it going to run? You know, you're planning for what people are going to do in those buildings and accomplish in those buildings, succeed - how they're going to succeed in those buildings. It's all done in that planning process, planning and design process. And you're also - you know, you're looking at how much energy you're going to use, how much water you're going use. All that is done in these very initial stages. So you've got to be there for that. So there's a growing interest in sort of the psychology of buildings and it's the social side of people being able to - to communicate easily, to help innovation, healthier buildings and so on. Does that come up in the discussion during this design phase? Absolutely. Right now we're doing a major innovation in the north classroom, which is a building that was built in the '70s; one of the original buildings on the inner area campus. And it's - nobody will dance around this and say that it's a great building, it's a bad building. Not only is it old, but it wasn't built to, you know, what's now a modern standard that is creating the best atmosphere for people to thrive in. And any time we are developing a new building - and I think our student commons building is a good example of that, the new health and wellness school center that we're about to build - it is all about how people are affected in those buildings. And how best to create an environment that people - and I keep going back to people succeed, but that's, you know, one of the tenets of our university is to help people succeed. And that's how we want to build buildings, to create that - you know, they walk in on the first day - I was talking with somebody about this recently; the first time you get into a new car and it smells bad; or not smells bad, it smells good because it smells like a new car and you're really proud of it. But those are volatile organic compounds and it's not a great thing to be taking in. And used to, when you walked into buildings, that's how it was then. Now you walk into one of our buildings and we've used no volatile organic compounds, you know, there's not laminated wood everywhere. They're healthy buildings. People walk in the first day, they breathe the air and it's healthy. And we like to think that that's just starting them on the right foot for what they're going to accomplish in that building. They've got better light, they've got better ways to communicate because technology is so much better. And because of that, we know that studies have shown - I was just reading a study from the US Green Building Council the other day talking about a couple of buildings that they studied in California and how productivity was up 70 percent in comparable buildings that are not just LEED certified, but just really healthy buildings in general as opposed to just a standard constructed building. It's amazing to me that as a sort of facilities person, it's not just about engineering and energy and materials; it's about psychology and sociology and community. Absolutely. Because from, you know, the facility's perspective or facility's projects perspective, if people aren't happy in that building, who do they call? They - so you're going to get it back every single time. You're going to get the calls of this is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong, come fix it. And you don't want to spend all of your time fixing something that you've just built. You want to move on to the next project and the next phase. So - Is there anything else you'd share with somebody who's starting out in their career, they want to do something related to sustainability - I mean, what - what sort of guidance would you give them? And it could be courses they should take, you know, skills they should acquire, how they should look for mentors or advocates or allies, things like that. I think - I think all the things that you just said - courses - every - if you're going to be kind of directly involved in sustainability, know the business aspect, know the economic aspect. The environmental, I feel like most people know that aspect. They know that the benefits of having a healthy environmental impact. They know that. But understanding, kind of, the business aspect of sustainability, the economic aspect - aspect of sustainability, that's how you talk to the people who have the money. And that's very, very important. You can't just be - you can be philosophical and you should be philosophical about sustainability and you should be able to express that to people, but you should also be able to talk about payback analysis, cost benefit ratios and whatnot. That's very important and it goes much deeper than that. And I would also say that one of the biggest things is just be willing to pivot. That's so important. Whether - if you're in the business world or you're looking to succeed, you're starting a business, you always have to be willing to kind of pivot when the need arises. And it's like that with most careers, but especially looking at sustainability. When you run up against a brick wall, don't keep trying to climb it; pivot to something else where you can succeed. It's good for your own psyche. It's going to be good for your organization, as well. Absolutely. In terms of big dreams, if you could do one big project for the university that has sustainability implications and addresses a huge issue, what would it be? Well, this is a little bit of a pet project because I've been working on it since we started and we haven't been very successful with renewable energy. Since I've come in, we have worked really hard to do as much energy conservation as possible, energy efficiency as possible. We spent a lot of money on those things and we've reaped many, many benefits from that, saved a lot of money because of those things. But we've never been able to institute a real, even small renewable energy project. One of the things that we've been talking about for years is for higher education along the front range to band together and to build a large renewable energy development, notably a wind power farm east of Denver - southeast of Denver. And all of the campuses would benefit from that power. And we know that it would produce enough power that we'll be selling some back to the utility, as well. That's the big dream that I've got because that would solve so many of our issues, especially our - our commitment to reducing our carbon over time. Although we've had a lot of success, we say that we want to have an 80 percent reduction from 2005 levels by the year 2050, that's the only way we could possibly do something like that. So when I'm thinking about planning, I'm thinking about long-term projects, I'm always looking at that commitment and that goal. If we're going to keep that goal, we have to move to develop something large. I wouldn't say that's out of the box, but it's definitely been out of the realm of possibility for a long time and that is something that if enough people and the right people are involved in that conversation, we can definitely make happen. How great. Jared, thanks so much and I hope that we get to go and take a video of the Jared Smith wind farm. I would love that. I don't think it will have my name, but maybe there'll be a little footnote that I was involved. So - Great. Well, thanks very much. Thank you, John. Great. Thank you.