Author: Linda Inpijn

From Neurolinguistics to Customer Success – interview Francesco

Our latest addition to the team is Francesco Ciavolino, he’s joined as a Customer Success Manager and brings along a very unique background.

Francesco studied Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam, where he chose his bachelors speciality in Neurolinguistics.

 

 

“My research was aimed at studying the brain, its development and its disorders. I am particularly interested in language. It’s not an exact science. You can make predictions about the way a language will evolve in certain cultures, but there’s always unpredictable influences. It’s a fascinating field.”

Francesco Ciavolino
Customer Success Manager

It may seem his academic background is a big leap from going into a more hands-on position like Customer Success Manager, but Francesco thinks his analytical skills certainly come in handy. He worked in different Customer-facing positions after his student years. 

“Being in academic research means I was mostly working alone. I wanted to apply my skills in a more social and practical setting. I think my degree helps me to dig for better solutions in our Customer Success team. As our client base is growing, it’s becoming more important to understand cause and effect. We need to understand patterns of what our customers want and need to solve issues at the root and build better solutions.”

Being a bit of a language nut, another interesting fun fact about Francesco is that he speaks more than four languages (and counting), which is Italian, Dutch, English, Japanese and even a bit of Russian. Quite impressive.

His favourite quote is from American linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky, which couldn’t be more fitting for the positive impact helo energy is trying to make!

“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.”
– Noam Chomsky

3 ways for Real Estate to act now

Climate change is no longer a thing of the future; it is here and now. With the release of the IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report, it is clear that action can wait no longer. How can real estate chip in?

Extreme weather events have been dominating the news. The latest report from the IPCC shows these events will only gain regularity if we don’t take drastic measures to limit global warming. What does the report say and what are the next steps for Real Estate?

  • The report from the world’s global climate authorities warns us that temperatures will keep rising and that the threshold for global temperature rise should keep to a maximum of 1.5 degrees C to prevent the worst impact. The good news is that this is still within reach. The ‘bad’ news is that this will only be achievable if we take radical measures to cut carbon emissions, especially in the built environment.
  • The report is very clear: whereas before the cause of global warming was less certain, it is now completely undeniable that human activity is the primary driver of climate change.

You can find a summary of the report here. Although it may seem like terrible news for mother earth, hello energy believes it presents a great opportunity for Real Estate heroes to start transforming buildings for the better. Renewable energy is no longer a ‘nice to have’; there’s no other option than fully decarbonising. Here are three ways you can get started:

1. Maximise your building (portfolio) performance
Large-scale investments are needed to curb the increase in emissions. That means you will need to prioritise optimising the performance of your building(s) with certifications such as BREAAM, GRESB (portfolio level) and WELL. This will not only increase performance, but will also help attract investors. Over 73% of investors take Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) disclosure and performance metrics into account when evaluating risk and identifying opportunities (Source: Reit.com).

2. Up your game in sustainable policies and ESG reporting
Now that EU policymakers are going to demand that more companies report their climate impact & plans, that will also raise the bar for accountability, transparency and the quality of these reports. More and more companies are realising that reports aren’t just needed to meet legal requirements, they are also informing and engaging all of their internal and external stakeholders in their sustainability goals.

A recent study by JLL shows that real estate sustainability is a key priority, but more decisive actions are needed. The study was done among 1,000 senior executive leaders around the world and concludes: only 6% currently see themselves as ‘leaders’ in measuring and reporting in real-time on the environmental impact of their real estate holdings.

Additionally to creating better ESG reports, think of designing a roadmap together with your stakeholders on the course of action in the coming years, tailored to your company. Want to find out where you and your stakeholders align or need to collaborate? Our Sustainability Radar is a great tool for that.

3. Actively engage & involve tenants and users
Tenants and users of buildings are becoming more critical and demanding of spaces in terms of sustainability and health, especially now they are slowly returning to the workplace. To utilise the spaces better and involve people in creating the most effective and pleasant environment possible, we do not only encourage you to collect feedback from your most important building users but also actively involve them on a day-to-day basis. For instance, hello energy’s software uses actionable energy insights and fun challenges to trigger and engage people into making a positive impact.

CEO Benno wrote a topical blog about ‘Creating sustainable places and green buildings together.’ Want to know more about creating better and future-proof offices? Sign up for our newsletter here.

hello energy featured in KPMG Real Estate overview 2021

The 6th annual edition of KPMG’s Real Estate Innovations Overview has just been released. It features hello energy as one of the platforms that improve the connectivity between stakeholders.

The purpose of the publication is to inform the Real Estate and Construction sector about innovations that are emerging and developing in the sector. hello energy was selected to be included in this edition as one of the innovative platforms around the world that can help improve connectivity, make a sustainable impact and offers a tool to enable dialogue between stakeholders.

The report says: “While the pandemic has an evident impact on the importance of safety and hygiene, integrating our physical and digital environment has become pivotal. Our industry moves towards a greater focus on end-to-end user experience in which a building becomes more than a place to e.g. live or work; transforming to an integrated environment in which the provision of services complementing real estate assets is central to living, working and building. Additionally, ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) measures are already a key topic for many companies in the industry; sustainable and ESG innovations may become essential for true operationalization of ESG and sustainability.”

 “hello energy had caught our attention in our search for innovations in the Real Estate sector. We are pleased to include the as one of the global innovations captured in our publication.”

As part of the overview, KPMG has created an online interactive innovations dashboard that presents statistics and individual company data. You can take a look at the interactive innovations dashboard here.

Interested in finding out more about how we can help you connect with & engage with your stakeholders? Contact us.

Mökki: bringing circularity to the heart of the office – Interview Tamara Brisk

Offices aren’t the first places that come to mind when you’re thinking of buying sustainable consumer brands or helping you to recycle or repurpose your used goods. Luckily, Mökki is here to change all that. They want to turn office spaces into more exciting, socially impactful places by opening circular relay (parcel pickup) points within office buildings. Tamara Brisk, CEO of Mökki, shares her ideas on this innovative approach of an office-retail hybrid space.

Office buildings make for a perfect meeting point to engage people in sustainable behaviour: they can stop by during office hours to pick up their parcels, go to a circular event, bring in their used appliances for repairs or recycle their waste in a responsible way – all with the help of a specialised Mökki team of sustainability experts. There’s an incredible appetite from consumers to buy and behave more sustainably. As Tamara Brisk, CEO and founder of Mökki puts it: “the digital circular initiatives are great, but they don’t always work so well into the physical world. Just think of ordering a second-hand item online, only to have to pick it up at a not-so-convenient time or a remote place.”

“We want to help consumers adapt to more sustainable behaviour by removing the obstacles to buy or sell second-hand and explore new sustainable options. We do that by bringing the circular economy to where they are and where they can inspire others: in office spaces.

Tamara Brisk
CEO Mökki

In the interview, Tamara talks about how Mökki can add value for tenants and building visitors.

Interested in reading about the measurable impact that Mökki has on the customer experience? Download our white paper on the ‘Art of Alignment to read the full interview.

Building better neighbourhoods with Commonplace – Interview Mike Saunders

Public participation plays an important role in the effort to achieve net-zero carbon. For interventions to be effective, it is crucial that people are aware of them, and to have the full support of the community. Commonplace is a platform that helps identify what’s important to communities, helping to integrate feedback into planning decisions. hello energy spoke with their CEO, Mike Saunders, about the value of this community engagement tool.

76% of people in neighbourhoods want to be involved in planning; they just don’t know how to do it. And only 27% of residents think that voicing their opinions will make a difference. These are a few of the many insights gathered from the community members at Commonplace. Mike Saunders, CEO and Co-founder of Commonplace, says this is not due to a lack of people’s willingness to be involved, but because of other deciding factors: “There’s a lack of trust in government or councils and information about building projects is hard to access. The language that governments or councils use tends to be technical and difficult to understand. There’s also the public attitude that policy decisions are made behind closed doors.”

“The way that public engagement in urban planning and development works is as if it’s been set up to fail. There are so many barriers for residents to be involved. We want to break down those barriers to facilitate conversations and build better neighbourhoods in the process and involve everyone.

Mike Saunders
CEO and Co-founder of Commonplace

In the interview, Mike talks about how people want to make their voices heard, but don’t have the tools or reach to make an impact.

Commonplace is helping to remove those barriers, by involving everyone, facilitating conversations (both online and offline) and building better neighbourhoods in the process. Their approach has been very successful: their platform consists of over 3.5 million residents and more projects are getting support because of the active engagement of the community.

Interested in reading about how Commonplace uses community engagement to influence planning decisions? Download our white paper on the ‘Art of Alignment to read the full interview.

Customer success – smooth onboarding & continuous feedback – Interview Myrte

The work of our customer success department is a balancing act between ensuring our users experience a smooth software onboarding, while continuously digging deeper to find out current and future needs. Myrte has got both the analytical skills as well as the empathetic ear to help customers in getting the most value out of hello energy.

hello energy wants to help customers realise their full sustainability potential by enabling them with actionable insights on their building performance and engaging all stakeholders in the journey towards net-zero real estate.”

Myrte van Varik
Customer Success Manager at hello energy

Meeting the requirements for a GRESB, BREEAM or WELL certification is often a starting point for new customers of hello energy. hello energy helps mark these strict certification assessment checkboxes by maximising stakeholder engagement, visualising real-time energy consumption and benchmarking building or portfolio performance for real estate companies.

Myrte explains how her role contributes to this: “I help assist customers to ensure a smooth introduction to our software. That means I explain the process of getting the most out of hello energy during the onboarding stage, but I also help them with questions along the way. Besides that, working with other departments is key: to improve the automation of processes, to provide content and toolkits that allow customers to find answers to their questions. The end goal is always a happy customer.”

Although the initial collaboration with hello energy is often borne out of an urgent need to meet the criteria for green certifications, clients are pleasantly surprised when it turns out that hello energy is helping them push the envelope in social and environmental impact:

Myrte: “I try to dig a little deeper to see what type of sustainability ambitions customers have and how we can ensure our solution fits into their goals. hello energy wants to help customers realise their full sustainability potential by enabling them with actionable insights on their building performance and engaging all stakeholders in the journey towards net-zero real estate. Alignment is one of the key aspects to meet sustainability goals, meaning sustainable projects require a joint effort between investment and asset managers, building owners, tenants and sustainability managers.”

Although getting everyone on board is one of the most challenging aspects of climate change within real estate, the right proptech software can help steer the direction with tangible data and serve as a conversation starter.

Myrte: “We realise there are different needs and incentives in this industry. I speak to a lot of building managers and they have a lot on their plate; now add trying to convince tenants to join them in their sustainability ambitions. It might prove to be quite challenging. Once we show them that our tool can provide full transparency, accountability and even a fun and engaging experience, they can’t wait to get started. Sustainability stakeholders will become their ambassadors of change.”

One of the most fulfilling feelings for Myrte is when she can go the extra mile to delight our customers. Especially if they are at the forefront of making an impact.

Myrte: “We use what we call ‘explainimations’ to translate complex information on sustainability into attractive and understandable videos. We compile these animations, other company related stories and data from energy feeds into personalised content for our customers, diversifying the information we put in front of their building stakeholders via their narrowcasting screens or desktop dashboards. I’m happiest when we can show the world that going green is not only necessary but that it can be a fun, rewarding and collective experience. One of my clients called me a ‘GRESB hero’ after I helped successfully implement hello energy with them. For me, that’s the cherry on top of creating a positive environmental impact.”

Want to join the customer success team? We are looking for a Head of Customer Succes.

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