Billy Grayson, an expert in sustainability program development for companies and organizations, has been selected to serve as the executive director of the ULI Center for Sustainability and Economic Performance. Established in 2014, the ULI Center for Sustainability and Economic Performance is dedicated to creating healthy, resilient, and high-performance communities around the world, with a special emphasis on the value proposition of sustainable design and development.
“We are delighted to have Billy on board to direct our sustainability efforts,” said ULI Global Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips. “ULI members are leaders in creating more sustainable, resource-efficient, and resilient projects and communities because building this way makes good business sense. Sustainability has staying power because it’s about doing well by doing good. ULI’s work in this regard has never been more necessary, and Billy has an excellent skill set to enhance the impact of the center’s work.”
The Center for Sustainability and Economic Performance aims to expand member engagement in sustainability issues by focusing on the business case, including factors such as market competitiveness, access to capital, risk management, project execution, operations management, and performance. Each of these is serving as a filter to ensure that the Institute’s sustainability work is applicable to members’ day-to-day operations. As head of the center, Grayson will oversee ULI’s activities related to the connection between land use and the environment and natural resources, energy conservation, climate change adaptation, and health and wellness. This includes the work of four programs within the center:
- The ULI Greenprint Center for Building Performance, which is an industry-led initiative composed of real estate owners, investors, financial institutions, and other industry stakeholders that seeks to lead the global real estate industry toward improved environmental performance, focusing on energy efficiency as well as reduced carbon emissions, water, and waste. Greenprint is a catalyst for change, taking meaningful, immediate, and measurable actions to generate real estate solutions that improve the environment through energy efficiency while demonstrating the correlation with increased property values.
- The Tenant Energy Optimization Program helps tenants reduce energy consumption and costs with an approach that integrates energy efficiency into tenant space design and construction and delivers excellent financial returns through energy conservation. The process emphasizes the importance of collaboration among tenants, building owners, and service providers.
- The Urban Resilience Program explores how cities can prepare for the effects of climate change. From rising sea levels to more frequent storms to extended droughts, the changing climate poses short- and long-term risks and opportunities for urban planning and development. This program provides resources and strategies to mitigate those risks and to create a more resilient and durable vision for community development.
- The Building Healthy Places Initiative leverages the power of the Institute’s global networks to shape projects and places in ways that improve the health of people and communities.
“The business case for integrating sustainability into urban development has never been stronger, and many ULI members are leaders in sustainability,” Grayson said. “I am excited to work across ULI to drive these best practices across our membership, and support sustainability initiatives in the cities where we work, live, and play.”
Grayson has ten years of experience in developing and directing sustainability strategies. Most recently, he served as founder and principal of Bent Branch Strategies in Washington, D.C., which aids in supporting sustainability program development and managing sustainability reporting for clients in real estate, health care, consumer products, and electronics.
Prior to founding Bent Branch, Grayson was director of corporate sustainability at Liberty Property Trust in Malvern, Pennsylvania, where he oversaw Liberty’s sustainability strategy for more than 700 buildings in 14 markets, including standards for sustainability in development, property management, and sustainability reporting and communications efforts. He worked with city managers and building tenants to accelerate investment in on-site renewable energy projects, and provided a “playbook” for tenants to support their energy efficiency efforts and pursue their own on-site renewable energy projects.