Holistic Approaches to Climate Change and Health: Exploring the Case for Optimizing Co-Benefits in Real Estate


2022-03-30T13:00:00 - 2022-03-30T14:00:00

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    Global ULI Online
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    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many real estate companies have expanded their sustainability plans to include viral safety. At the same time, other ESG commitments, such as reducing carbon emissions, remain essential. These priorities are often compatible: enhancing health—whether related to infectious disease, chronic disease, or mental health—has long been a goal of green buildings, and growing evidence shows that greener buildings are often better for health and cognitive function.

    As real estate professionals increasingly seek to achieve multiple ESG goals, they also have opportunities to create long-term value and advance project success. A new ULI report, Greening Buildings for Healthier People: Optimizing Climate Mitigation, Resilience, and Health Co-benefits in Real Estate, describes the benefits of a taking holistic approach to addressing climate change and health. Join this conversation with industry leaders to learn how they have optimized the co-benefits of green and healthy building features, and the case for doing so.



    Adele Houghton

    Biositu LLC

    A registered architect and green building professional, Adele works at the intersection of public health, climate change, and the built environment. Her research investigates the gap between the goals of local climate change and chronic disease policies, on the one hand, and the priorities of individual building project teams on the other. Adele graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with an AB in Architecture and Urbanism and subsequently received a Master of Architecture from Rice University. Upon graduating from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a Master of Public Health, she was inducted into the Delta Omega Honor Society, Alpha Chapter. She began her career as a green building consultant in a commercial architecture firm in Houston, Texas. In 2005, she joined the Green Guide for Health Care, the first best practices toolkit in the U.S. to take a health-centric approach to green building design and operations. She founded Biositu, LLC, in 2008 to expand this approach beyond the health care sector. Biositu, LLC is a strategic consulting company dedicated to leveraging environmental sustainability to enhance community health.


    Komal Kotwal

    Sustainable Design Leader for Health, Well-Being and Equity, HOK

    Komal is the firm-wide sustainable design leader for health, well-being and equity and a project manager based in HOK’s Houston studio. She has led sustainable design efforts for more than two million square feet of space, including a net-zero project and one million square feet of LEED and WELL Platinum projects. Komal is passionate about the intersection of health, equity and climate change. She is a trusted advisor to clients, helping develop more intentional design strategies and key metrics for human sustainability and community resiliency. She uses intentional design strategies to enhance human behavior and promote physical, mental and emotional well-being. Komal has served on the AIA Houston Board of Directors, the Texas USGBC Regional Council and the USGBC’s Greenbuild Program Committee. A strong advocate for equity and inclusivity, Komal has served on HOK’s Diversity Advisory Council and is a member of HOK’s Management Board.


    Kelly Soljacich

    Senior Vice President, LaSalle Investment Management

    Kelly Soljacich is a Senior Vice President and Director of Asset EST Innovation with LaSalle Investment Management and has over 20 years of experience in the real estate investment industry. She oversees a portfolio of 10 assets as well as leads many of LaSalle’s property level environmental, social and proptech initiatives, including several Fitwel and WELL certifications and LaSalle’s covid response effort to attain the WELL Health & Safety Rating last year for 115 multifamily and office properties in North America and 41 properties in Asia Pacific, totaling over 26MSF. Kelly leads LaSalle’s partnership with the RedCross, which hosts blood drives at LaSalle’s properties nationwide, and running asset level PropTech, working to vet and evaluate hundreds of vendors. Mrs. Soljacich is also an active volunteer and Board Member of the Red Cross of Illinois and sits on JLL’s Women’s Business Network Board.