MBA Students Attend Conference on Green Buildings in Israel

On June 27th 2017, two recent graduates from the Sloan MBA class of 2017 (Aurelle Amram and Virginia Maloney) attended the Financial Innovation Lab “Accelerating the adoption of green technologies in offices, commercial buildings and hotels” on behalf of MIT Sloan and the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative in Jerusalem, Israel. Co-hosted by the Milken Institute and the Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection, the conference focused on market-driven solutions that could encourage investment in green building and sustainability innovations across the public and private sectors in Israel.

Throughout the day, we learned about the existing green initiatives in Israel, discussed barriers to adopting more sustainable building practices, and participated in problem-solving sessions dedicated to new models and solutions for incentivizing green building in Israel. Attendees ran the gamut from Milken Institute fellows, representatives from levels of the Israeli government, the Israeli Council of Green Buildings, non-profits like Forum15, social enterprises, and experts from the U.S., U.K., and Australia.

The conversation focused on commercial building from both the perspective of upgrading existing infrastructure, and establishing new standards for more sustainable buildings as Israel’s economy continues to invest in construction. Key questions included:

  • How can we create market-based solutions to improve energy performance of our buildings?
  • What financial, regulatory, technology, and education tools and techniques will lead to energy savings? What solutions can we learn and translate to Israel?
  • What can we do immediately and in the longer term to implement these solutions? With what resources, at what cost, and what impact?

The discussions eventually gravitated towards a solution that had been implemented in Australia: the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (Nabers). The system, now mandatory for commercial buildings in Australia, considers both the design and performance of a building. We very much appreciated such a data-driven approach to the rating something “green,” and enjoyed that many of the thought leaders in this field relied on the same analytical principles we had been learning at MIT Sloan.

The following day, we were privileged enough to meet with high-ranking members of the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection as they discussed next steps for a Green Building Certification unique to Israel. Their concerns again echoed many questions that we had heard in Sloan classrooms ourselves: what regulatory burden can you ask real estate managers to comply with, and at what cost? How can you motivate individuals to care about the “green-ness” of a building? What are the tradeoffs between simplicity and accuracy when designing a nation-wide system to be used over the long-term?

The whirlwind trip and engaging conversation throughout the experience left us excited to have participated in a global conversation and inspired about the future of sustainability in Israel. Thank you to the Sustainability Action Fund and the MIT Sloan community for making our participation possible.

Aurelle Amram

MIT Sloan MBA, Class of 2017

Virginia Maloney

MIT Sloan MBA and Harvard Kennedy MPA, Class of 2017

Virginia Maloney

Virginia is a dual-degree MBA/MPA candidate at MIT Sloan and the Harvard Kennedy School. She has a background in consulting, government, and technology with experience at Deloitte Consulting, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), and Facebook. Virginia is a native New Yorker and received her B.A. from Princeton University in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs with a minor in Environmental Studies.

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