BUILDINGS not only has a new look this year, but we also have a new Advisory Board. We’re excited to welcome so many power players in the buildings industry to drive the direction of our content. We recently asked Brenna Walraven, president and CEO of Corporate Sustainability Strategies, to share her thoughts on 2020 and beyond.
BUILDINGS: What are some best practices or lessons that grew out of 2020 for you?
Brenna Walraven: Relationships matter—always has been a fundamental understanding but got more important than ever in 2020. Also sustainability and ESG, which increasingly include health, wellbeing, and safety, are critical—again, now more than ever, and likely will continue to accelerate in a post COVID-19 world.
BUILDINGS: Who are the most important mentors/colleagues in your life?
Walraven: Too many to list! Often my best mentors were my peers and relationships developed through BOMA. Henry Chamberlain, president of BOMA International, has been a wonderful mentor, colleague, and friend. Craig Sheehy, founder and president of Envision Realty, has been a dear friend and amazing colleague. Deb Cloutier, founder and president of RE Tech Advisory, again, amazing mentor, colleague and friend. They have just helped me be better at the work I do, and always made me think and brought me joy.
BUILDINGS: What does 2021 hold for building owners and managers?
Walraven: More of the same and more change. We’ve survived (to some degree) 2020 and the impacts of COVID-19 and local and state shutdowns. But even in 2021, it’s not over. While we all are looking forward to a “vaccine-enabled 2021,” the reality is we’ll be forever changed. Washing our hands (and I mean really washing!), hand sanitizer, masks and social distancing won’t go away for some time. But we will get better at this—when there’s a strategy and plan, we can do better, and this is true at a building level, company level and community level.
BUILDINGS: What industry trends are you predicting over the next few years? How will they shape the industry?
Walraven: Health, wellness and safety trends will further accelerate. Density will be lower, and filtration and air changes/CFM will improve and increase. Net zero and building performance standards will be on the rise, as well as requirements to address climate change and enhance resilience.
BUILDINGS: What’s next for you and your organization?
Walraven: Increased focus on health and wellbeing policies and program development for clients, increased focus on building resilience, renewable energy, and enhanced reporting and transparency for clients. For me, I want to continue to grow my business by delivering industry-leading ESG consulting service support and help my clients make a difference. I also want to continue to focus on health and wellbeing personally!
BUILDINGS: Who or what is your favorite social media account to follow?
Walraven: This is a hard one as I’m not a Facebook user these days—I see the value for “connecting” but don’t like that I’m the product in the platform, so I haven’t posted and rarely view (in the last 1.5 years). I like Instagram but I know it’s “more of the same” as it’s owned by and connected to Facebook—what I like is it’s simple, pictures and a note but without the political stuff. So in the end, I use and “like” (use that term very loosely!) LinkedIn the best, but I do use Twitter—its ability to send a message, keep abreast of business trends, colleagues etc. is productive and yet positive.
Meet our other advisory board members: