July 2017

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Peter ScarpelliEMAIL INTERVIEWPeter Scarpelli and Ken Sinclair

Pete Scarpelli
Operating Advisor
Pegasus Capital Advisors

Healthy Buildings

There is a roadmap for monitoring building operation relative to occupant productivity.
“9 Foundations to a Healthy Building”

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Sinclair Why are healthy buildings important?

Scarpelli:  The EPA estimates that the average person spends about 90% of their time indoors.  I’ll be 50 years old in 2019.  This means I will have spent 45 years of my life inside buildings or vehicles when I hit that milestone.   There are two things I take away from that: (1) the indoor environment has a disproportionate impact on my life and (2) my wife, and I need more long walks on the beach to get outside more.

Sinclair What defines a healthy building?

Scarpelli:  This has been a difficult question until recently.  Many entities published building operating conditions, but it has been difficult to correlate the building operation with occupant health and productivity.   The Healthy Buildings team, led by Dr. Joseph Allen, at Harvard’s T.H. School of Public Health published a report titled “9 Foundations to a Healthy Building” (see ).  As far as I know, Dr. Allen’s team is the first to link the building operation to the occupant.  Their research shows the science behind the operational guidelines.  More importantly, they provide metrics for the 9 Foundations that building managers can use to optimize building performance relative to occupant cognitive and health benefits.  In other words, there is a roadmap for monitoring building operation relative to occupant productivity.

Sinclair How will this impact the building management industry?

Scarpelli:  I was CBRE’s Global Director, Energy & Sustainability (E&S) from March 2010 to September 2016.  We helped clients design energy management and sustainability tracking & reporting programs.  The Facility Management industry estimates that the average client spends $3/sf for energy / $30/sf for maintenance and $300/sf for is employees.  Our team was very good at finding and delivering energy savings, CBRE’s maintenance team was also very good at driving maintenance efficiency, but we really wanted to make sure that we were helping out clients achieve their business mission.  The latter was difficult to prove absent clear metrics that showed how our operating practices impact occupant productivity.  Dr. Allen’s team provides a roadmap and metrics that can be built into the energy & maintenance operating playbooks.  As a result, reasonable business cases can be created that measure and track against the $300/sf employee cost. 

[an error occurred while processing this directive]Sinclair How does the internet of things (IoT) help make healthy buildings possible?

Scarpelli:  Two things are required in order for a healthy building to be a practical reality: (a) appropriate metrics that scientifically shows the impact of building operation to occupant health and productivity; and, (b) the ability to capture, monitor and analyze data from the buildings relative to those metrics.  Dr. Allen’s “9 Foundations” helps with the former and IoT makes the latter possible.  Smart building technologies create the ability to monitor building operations remotely.  Additional sensors may be needed to gather data for all of the applicable metrics, and operational technologies (e.g. indoor air quality) may need to be added to address specific conditions.  Absent such IoT technology; it would be difficult to capture and process the right data fast enough for it to be useful. 

Sinclair What does this mean to you in your current engagement with Pegasus Capital Advisors?

Scarpelli:  Pegasus is an energy, sustainability and wellness focused private equity company.   I am an Operating Advisor at Pegasus.  My primary focus is on the built environment.  We seek to provide growth equity capital to help businesses that are focused on improving the lives of building occupants. 


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