Description of the video:
>> Good afternoon everyone. My name is Andrea Webster, I work with IU's Environmental Resilience Institute. And I'm so happy to welcome you to today's Prepared for Environmental Change webinar. Today's topic is the economic value of preparedness and resilience. Before we get started, I wanna let you know that everyone's muted, please save your questions till the end.
But if you have an urgent or clarifying question I would encourage you to put that into the chat function. Which you can find by hovering your mouse over the Zoom window, and that should make a chat icon appear. We will be live tweeting the webinar from @preparedforachange. So we encourage you to engage online and retweet as you desire, either during or after the webinar.
And I also wanna let you all know that we're recording the webinar as we always do, and I'll share that recording with you. And a follow up email, probably on Friday or Monday of this week. And we certainly encourage you to share that email and that link of the recording with your colleagues.
Cuz we wanna share these resources as widely as possible. Cuz there's just so many talented people out there and we're really happy to share their knowledge with you. So finally, I'm very pleased to introduce the Director of the Environmental Resilience Institute, Janet McCabe. And Janet will be our moderator today.
So Janet, I'll pass it to you.
>> Thanks, Andrea, and hi everybody. We're so pleased to have you with us today. Thanks for joining our webinar today. I wanna start sort of on a serious note by recognizing that the country is in a pretty tough time right now.
And in particular communities of color are just experiencing extraordinary pressure and strife these days. I want you to know that the ERI supports the Black Lives Matter movement, and the protests that have been happening. And that we stand with all hoosiers in opposition to violence and oppression. And we're gonna be working hard to figure out what we need to do to play our part.
In finally and slowly trying to address the systemic problems that are plagued our country for years. But just on a personal note, I have to say. I have an age and I'm getting increasingly angry with the education that I received back in the 60s and 70s, cuz I feel it has failed me in many ways.
So we also have a pandemic going on. There's a lot going on in the world, and even more, we appreciate you tuning in today. Recognizing that we need to be preparing all of our communities better, especially our communities of color, for climate change. I think, in these days when we're stuck at home, or in difficult situations and then a lot seems to be sort of on hold.
It is personally gratifying to each of us to be able to actually do something constructive, that's positive and moving forward. And doing things like this, I think fall into that category. Today we have two incredibly talented speakers, William Liao and Jessica Davis. We're gonna share their expertise on a really, really important topic.
Which is how to build and integrate economic arguments into sustainability and resilience projects. Jessica I have known for a number of years now, we'll talk about how she starts resilience and sustainability initiatives with the economic argument. But why her? The institution she works for, IUPUI, that IU Purdue University campus in Indianapolis, why that institution should implement the project?
And then William, who I've just met recently, is going to review for us a new online platform for risk, resilience, and expenditures in disasters. It's a really, really interesting tool that takes advantage of significant bodies of data. That can be put together in ways that are useful and helpful to practitioners and people out in the real world who are making decisions.
So we're super excited about that new tool, and William is excited to hear your feedback on it, either today through your questions or afterwards. Just a reminder word for those of you who are here for the first time, the Environmental Resilience Institute. Which is a project that prepares for environmental change, grand challenge by you.
Has a number of different resources available, especially focused on helping local governments in Indiana. But also all these resources are available to everybody. These are a couple of them, and we're happy to get you information on any of them that you'd like to have information about. We are continuing our webinar series in July, very timely, our topic will be managing extreme heat.
This is a phenomenon that we know is coming. Actually this week has been a nice little example of how much we are having in Indiana. Although I'll notice I've been watching the air quality index. And because there's so much less driving going on, air quality has actually been pretty good.
But it's still awful hot, and based on the experiences Andrea and I had on this issue, we need to be talking about extreme heat a lot more. It's one of these sort off in the distance things that it's not getting to the top of our priority list. And if we have learned anything from the pandemic, it's that it is important to pay attention to these things, even if they are not right in front of you.
So I wanna thank our supporters, our sponsors for the webinar series, the Association of Indiana Counties, Accelerate Indiana Municipalities. And also the Indiana Public Health Association and Health by Design, very important organizations. We had over 60 people register for today's webinar. From all over the state and perhaps country and perhaps world, I don't know, I didn't read the whole list.
But we do get people who join us from all over the place, which is great. So I'm gonna quickly introduce, give you a little background on our two speakers. And then I'm gonna turn it over to Jessica and you won't hear from me again til the very end.
So, first I'll introduce the second speaker. William is Project Director and Researcher at the Crisis Technologies Innovation Lab. At the Luddy School of informatics, Computing, and Engineering at Indiana University. That is too many words to have in the title of somebody's program, and hard to say. His research interests include data science but for healthcare and emergency response, so right in our wheelhouse.
He completed his BA in telecommunications at IU Bloomington in 2016, and Masters in Data Science in 2019. Prior to coming to IU, he worked in data science and lean product development for marketing and healthcare companies. And Jessica Davis is the Director of Sustainability at IUPUI, and has been employed in the field of sustainability since 2010.
As Director of Sustainability at IUPUI, Jessica provides leadership and acts as an organizational strategist for sustainability. Collaborating across the campus community to integrate sustainability into curriculum, research, and operations. To promote an instinct of culture of sustainability at IUPUI. If you've ever met her, you know that she embodies sustainability and effectiveness.
I've seen her in action, she is from Indiana, she has a BS in biology from Marian University and Master's in Psychology from the University of Dayton. And an MPa in urban sustainability from IUPUI new school of public Environmental Affairs, where she also now serves on the faculty. And I'm told that she's been responsible for students deciding to change their majors to sustainability after taking her class, and I'm sure you will all wanna do that too after you hear this today.
So, I'm gonna turn it over to Jessica and look forward to hearing both of our presenters today.
>> Thanks, Jana, I appreciate it, I'm gonna go ahead and share my screen here and while I'm doing that, fair warning I do have a dog his name is Darwin. He will likely put his head in at many points during this presentation, his biggest skill is actually manipulating me to do whatever he wants to do.
So a little bit of background on him. Lets me share the screen here, Andrea it's saying I don't have access to share screen.
>> Okay, I know Zoom tuned some of its settings so you should be able to do that now. Okay let me try that. Now I'm having to change my preferences on my end.
>> No, it's all right.
>> Okay, it's still not letting me do it, do you mind pulling them up on your end? It's why I sent them to you in advance, right?
>> Yep this is why all right.
>> Wait hang a second, I might be able to do it.
>> Yes, I think it just took a hot second for the settings to go through.
>> We've got it.
>> Okay, awesome, great, first hurdle cleared, we're good now. So yeah, my name is Jessica, I'm the director of sustainability at IUPUI. And I'm gonna be walking you through some of the processes that we go through, in determining how to work on ,or choose which sustainability projects to adopt.
And know that when I talk about sustainability I'm also including resilience in there I just will tend to lean on, or say sustainability more often than not just because that's the world in which I tend to exist in. So but know that when I hear sustainability, you can hear resilience along with that.
So the first thing that I actually wanna start with is maybe a bit unexpected, but it's a little bit of a philosophical question on this idea of value. The title of this series is the value of the economic preparedness of being economic or being prepared, or resilient. So first of all, what is value, and how do we determine it?
Because how we answer these questions actually sets up these future decisions that we make as an organization around questions of sustainability and resilience. So, while I go through this, this is not for discussion at this point, if we have time for questions at the end, I would really like to dive into this but for the time being, I would just like for you all to drop your responses to the questions in the chat.
And we'll see kind of how the hell these come through and hopefully we'll have time at the end to talk about it. So I have two main questions that if you feel comfortable sharing as a representative of your organization, I would really like to know the answers to these or even if you don't feel comfortable writing them, at least think about them in your head.
So the first question is what sort of financial model or rule does your organization use or follow to determine when a project moves forward? So an example here in the IU system is that we tend to lean on the ten year return on investment rule. That's more of like a guiding principle, sometimes that rule was broken, sometimes that rule is shorter, but that seems to be the rule that we tend to lean on.
Especially we're always considering that rule when we're considering sustainability solutions on campus, knowing that this is gonna be a guiding principle for the organization. So that's kinda, if you could drop that into the chat, the other one is does that rule or model adequately address and include the cost of doing nothing, especially when you know, future challenges or risks are on their way.
And I think this is this is the one that's actually much more interesting to me is do these return on investment models do these financial models really take into account the cost of doing nothing, especially in the face of challenges that we know are coming, right? We know that they're coming.
So as you all think about that and drop it in the chat, I'm hopeful we'll be able to discuss this a little bit more in depth later but just keep those answers to those questions in mind as we move on. So, the first thing that I really wanna start with then is let's talk about terms here price, cost and value and some of this is just really basic, like econ 101 business 101.
But I think it's really important that we understand what words mean we when we say them. So price is what we pay, we as individuals, we as our organizations and its objective right the price is what it is. Sure you can get quotes across the board, you can get multiple vendors but the price is what it is, its objective.
Cost is with the all the inputs that go into creating that particular product or service that then we might procure, that is typically objective as well right some other organization is assigning those input costs into that model. Then the last one is value and that is the utility or the utilization that we get out of that particular item or service as an individual, or organization and value is subjective.
How much we value things depends on who we are, what we stand for, how much we think the problem is a big is big enough to deal with. There are a lot of questions that can go into determining the value of any decision that we make. So knowing these things, and knowing that a value is subjective, then this means we have to look at a handful of things, organizationally, to determine how much value any decision has.
So at least in our case, in sustainability IUPUI, there are a handful of things that we look for when we uses signals to us from the organization knowing that they will value a decision that we make. Sometimes those values can be found in the mission statement, the vision statement, some organizations explicitly list their values, Indiana University does and I'll share those with you here on next couple of screens.
Where we lay out what our institutional values are, it might be in your strategic plan, right? So your strategic plan is a way for you to enact your organizational values, right. These are our priorities, and if it's in the strategic plan that determines how money is spent, how time is spent, where effort is spent.
If you look at those things or if you don't have those things, then it's hard to determine value of something if you don't have guiding principles. So, when you think about your own organization, if you have a couple of these we're Maybe you values aren't explicitly listed, maybe it's a really good time to revisit, rewrite or even just initially write those.
I think especially now we're seeing how exposed we have been to a lot of challenges. And I think it's an appropriate time to really consider writing for the first time, or revisiting our institutional values, like what do we stand for, and what is gonna be the guiding principle for, how we decide to spend money.
So as I mentioned, Indiana University explicitly lists its core values. So as the opposite sustainability, we can lean on this document to provide us with guidance. This is one part of our argument for investing in sustainability is that we can explicitly call out these things and say, hey, our institution stands for this.
And if we stand for this that means that it's worth the investment. And the one that I have highlighted here in blue, explicitly calls out sustainability. There are certainly sustainability ideals and values in some of these other ones that are listed in the values of IU but explicitly sustainability is called as a value.
So that really gives us an initial leg up on any sustainability solution that we're presenting because it is aligned with the self stated values of the organization. Another thing that I'll encouraging you to do is reframing this question around sustainability and resilience. Oftentimes, I've seen it from my own peers and colleagues, we can get in trouble where we say we can we can get into finger pointing, or finger wagging and we say, well, why aren't you doing sustainability?
Or why aren't you doing resilience to the level that it should be? And that's the question, what can my organization do for sustainability, right? Why aren't you doing this? That's what that question is. I would encourage us to actually take that question and flip it on its head.
The question is really what can sustainability and resilience do for my organization? And those are two very different questions, they come from two different vantage points. One is the vantage point of you're not doing anything and we're inadequate. And the other one is from the vantage point of sustainability and resilience being an effective tool by which our organization gets better.
So just know that these questions are different and consider how you ask questions around sustainability and resilience. And just to give you a real high level overview of how our unit works, we have sustainability strategic plan for IUPUI. Our office owns that plan, is in its house with us, but we do it in conjunction with partners across campus.
And within that plan we have academic goals, operational goals and engagement goals that creates the plan itself. However, we go back to that initial idea that our strategic plan as a unit, supports the university strategy, it is not a distraction to the strategy. It is aligned with the strategy and it is an asset to helping the campus fulfill its campus wide strategy.
And it was built that way purposefully. So this means that when we're looking at any sort of effort that we want to potentially pursue on campus and at any moment there could be thousands of sustainability solutions we could be pursuing. So how do you prioritize them? How do you assign the highest value again knowing that value is subjective to determine which solution to move forward to.
So this is kind of the little recipe book that for our organization, this works for us. And if our team can work together to make sure that our sustainability efforts check as many of these boxes as possible, that means we're gonna be much more likely to get a yes.
So the recipe book will be different for every organization, right? Because we all have different values, we all stand for different things. But this is what our recipe for success looks like. And the first one on that list is that it has to be an effort by which we can fulfill the strategic plan or support the strategic plan and live the values as stated by Indiana University.
If it doesn't do that then it's immediately a distraction to the university's area of investment, right? So that's the first place we have to start with. If we can engage students, right? Because we are, we're university we are here for students, that's why we exist, so that's central to our identity.
If it can fulfill an operational need of the campus, right? So we have a lot of opportunities to improve efficiencies and how we work. Is it financially responsible? And financial responsible can mean a lot of different things. It can mean that it's gonna save you money that it'll be cost neutral.
That it might earn you external dollars or grants or foundations. It might have an academic or engagement return, right? Because that's why we exist, we exist to support students. So even though there may it may be hard to tie a firm dollar amount to student learning and engagement if it supports that that is value to the institution.
And the last one is if it positions the university as a trailblazer in sustainability as an innovator. So the more of these boxes that we can check, the more that we know our efforts we much more likely to go forward and be supported enthusiastically. Of course, there are some things that we do where they only check one thing on this box, but it's a really compelling argument and that's good enough to move it forward.
But the more of these boxes, we can check, we know the more successful it will be. And again, this is specific to us, right? This is after learning our organization, what it stands for, what our decision makers care about. This is how we were able to develop this little recipe.
So just real quick, I just wanna do a real quick dispelling some myths of sustainability and resilience. And the biggest one that I hear is all sustainability and resilience is expensive. So yeah, let's talk about the truth of that. Yes, sustainability and resilience initiatives can be expensive, talking about the hard objective dollar amount on the upfront.
But they are far less expensive in the long run. Often because we are anticipating and mitigating risk, risk that is known at this point. Sustainability and resilience efforts don't all have an easily measurable return on investment and it's mainly because of this thing called externalities, right? Where there are benefits that really, really hard to assign a dollar value to.
That doesn't mean we're not going to try and it doesn't mean it doesn't become a part of the narrative because it certainly does. But it's hard to get those benefits to fit into the neat little equation that sometimes our financial folks might like to see. Sustainability and resilience forces us to consider our favorite phrase that'll never happen, things we don't listen, 2020 has proven anything can happen, all right?
So let's get this idea if that'll never happen out of our head. It's gonna happen at some point, all right? So yes, it may be the chances you may think that it's low, but if it's still a possibility, we have to be prepared for that. However, the flip side of that is it's also true about the following.
Sustainability professionals like myself, hopefully if we're good, we're gonna present solutions that have the best possible financial outlook for our organization. Because we understand what our organization cares about. That also means that there is no one size fits all sustainability or resilience solution, right? Because organizations value things differently.
And it's up to me to figure out what my organization values and develop the compelling argument from that angle. Another thing that's true is that sustainability professionals we identify and communicate those externalities, those things that are really hard to measure, in such a way that our organization cares about them and it creates a positive value proposition.
A specific example of this is that an IUPUI Medical Campus. That means that conversations around health weigh heavier on our campus because of what we do and what we stand for. So if there is a compelling argument about air quality, that's gonna be more important for maybe an organization like ours and somebody else and that's worth something to us.
And then also, sustainability professionals, we recognize the value of thinking about and avoiding tomorrow's problems. And maybe not avoiding the problem but avoiding the cost of tomorrow's problems. Like let's anticipate it now, that's what we're here for, we're here to think about these things, and to come up with creative solutions now.
So let's dispel the myth that sustainability is expensive, right? It's true that some of these things are hard to measure, but in the long run, it's gonna save us a lot of heartache. So just some specific examples that I'm going to run through from IUPUI real quick. And I've provided a few examples, three that are what I'm going to call price-led decisions, where the reason the decision was made is because it financially just made sense.
But I'm also going to talk about the other benefits that tied to our values as an institution that made the argument even more compelling. And then I'm gonna show you two value-led decisions where on paper, the thing isn't gonna pay for itself. However, it was aligned with what our values are as an institution and that was compelling enough to make the decision be made.
So the first price-led decision that I want to lead with is we did some energy efficiency updates to our parking garages. Just kinda universally in an energy efficiency efforts are kind of a no brainer, especially if you're that hard line, making financial decisions. These things pay for themselves really quickly, and they also mitigate against future costs.
So this was an example of IUPUI and this is just one example of energy efficiency efforts just cuz it's a really compelling one. We have a ton that I could share with him but this is just one. So we moved three of our parking garages from high pressure sodium lights, which are pretty energy, they're high energy users, and they don't cast the best light, to bi-level LED lights that are on photocells and also on occupancy sensors.
So they only kick on when there's not enough natural light in the garage. And then when they do kick on, they're on a low level, and as they pick up motion, they bounce to the highest level. So by switching three of our parking garages over to this sort of system, we reduced energy usage by 58%.
You can still see the kilowatt hour reduction there. It was enough energy to power 92 homes in a year. And that was all three of these were switched in one year. Right, so this is one year's worth of savings but then multiply that times forever or until whenever the next best technology comes on the market.
So by garage here, you can see how the energy reduction played out. Riverwalk garage, 74% reduction, Sports garage, 77, University Hospital, 53. That's because the University Hospital actually does have some HVAC systems in there, and a few more elevators because of just the way that that space is utilized.
But so that was a great financial argument, right? 77% use reduction in one year for one garage. Multiply that times forever, whoo, no brainer, right. Move forward with that one. But there are a lot of other ancillary benefits associated with this. Better lighting meant we had better light quality, it looked better, and also improved safety in that facility.
It mitigated us against future price increases on energy, right? We know that for big organizations, utility rates go up by a certain percentage almost every year like clockwork, we know that. So by taking advantage of mitigating now, we're protecting ourselves against future rate hikes later. Another price-led decision was how we manage our exterior waste on campus.
So we had just over 300 exterior waste bins, public waste bins like ones you might see on a sidewalk in a city or in a parking lot somewhere. There were over 300 of them. Over here to the right is actually a map of where it shows where all of our exterior waste bins were, because they are now no longer.
And they were all mismatched, they didn't look that great. We only had four of them that were paired with recycle bins. And the goal was to try to get, how can we collect recycling to make sure we're diverting that waste from a sustainability perspective? And the issue was just the cost to replace the bins was going to be over $600,000.
Ooh, nobody wants to swallow that bill. And then there was labor cost, come to find out there were two people spending about two hours a day, every day, going around to empty these bins regardless of how full they were, because we didn't know. Right, sometimes you might have a big event and your bins are overflowing.
Other times, maybe not as busy and the bin's hardly full at all, but somebody still went around to check it. So that was time and that was also fuel for the vehicle or charging time for the vehicle. So what we decided to do, Occam's Razor solution, we just said let's just get rid of them.
Right, let's avoid the cost entirely, and let's just get rid of them. So we went from over 300 exterior bins, to now we have less than 20. And the 20 that we have are only in outdoor dining areas, or in one area of campus that's actually historical and we can't touch it.
So now we avoided that $600,000 replacement cost. We also were able to redirect that labor to things that are more productive. But there are also a lot of other ancillary benefits too. Improved aesthetics, reduced pest issues, reduced contamination in our waste, improve worker safety, cuz those things can get really heavy when you empty them.
So again, a price-led decision, but also speaks to some of our other goals that we have as a campus. Another one was the electrification of our grounds fleet. So we, our partner was Green Works, which is their commercial line. They brought their commercial line out to campus and let our grounds crew try all their equipment for two weeks for free.
So a risk-free opportunity to try out new equipment. Our grounds team really loved it and they decided to procure their first round of commercial electrical equipment for maintaining our grounds at IUPUI. So you can see the list of items that we now have on campus. So this was more of a price-led decision, but also had a lot of other great ancillary benefits.
So the average retail price is kind of across the fleet, it's averaged about $12 a day in gasoline. Remember, we're a big campus. If it's during the growing season, we're using this equipment eight hours a day. Right, multiple people using eight hours a day. The average cost to charge these is $0.07 a day.
Right so there's immediate price differentiation there. But then also there's the maintenance costs that in this case have been eliminated. No more oil, no more belts, no lubricants, no spark plugs, no air filters, no winterization of equipment. We don't have to do this anymore. The only sort of replacement that we have to do is the tires on the mower.
If your battery ages out, you switch out the battery, bring in a new one. So the maintenance costs and labor are eliminated or at least greatly reduced. But there are also a lot of other benefits. Reduced noise, which now means that we can mow when classes are in session, right.
Gives us more work time during the day, no fumes. That's really great because a lot of our research facilities have fresh air intake and you don't necessarily wanna smell the weeder fumes as you're working in your lab. Improved worker safety and satisfaction because they're quieter. They don't have to wear hearing protection anymore because it's below OSHA standards.
I didn't know this, but apparently when you use a blower all day during the fall, the vibration from the engine, you actually go home and your hand shakes at night. That's what some of our grounds crew told us. They don't get that anymore because there's not any vibrations in the motor for this particular piece of equipment.
So those are some price-led decisions but also spoke to some of our other values. Now what about value-led decisions? These are programs that on paper, they're going to cost you something no matter what. However, because they speak to the strategic plan or the values of our institution, we're able to make the argument that it's worth it right?
It's worth the investment. So one of those things that our sustainability internship program, we have 13 students, each of them are focused on goals and our strategic plan, so they have very focused roles. The experience provides real world opportunity for them. Often, many of them are helping us march our goals towards their ultimate destination.
They get professional development, they get research experience, and then ultimately at the end of the day, they land some of the best sustainability jobs in the state. On paper, this costs us money. However, it's worth it. Why, because we're a university that's here for students. We're directly fulfilling some of the items in the strategic plan and we're speaking to our values.
So even though it costs something, it's been deemed a worthy investment of the campus. Another example of this is the Campus Kitchen at IUPUI. So this is a student-led organization that's administered by our office. They rescue food like leftovers that would normally end up being thrown away. Rescue that food, transform it into meals, and serve it to those who are experiencing food insecurity.
So you can see the numbers there what our students have been able to do since Campus Kitchen was formed. If you're not aware, there was actually a big report done at IUPUI here in the last year that says that upwards of 40% of our students have experienced food insecurity.
That's a problem if students are unable or wondering where their next meal comes from. So this is a sustainable way for the university to meet that need of addressing student food insecurity that allows them to maybe decide to stay in college longer. So that affects our retention rate.
If they're eating healthily, they're getting better grades, it means they're gonna graduate on time. We're gonna get them out and hopefully incurring less debt during that time. So it directly addresses a need of the university, but also helps support some of the items in our strategic plan around retention and graduation rates.
So I'll leave you with that. Like I said, that's just to highlight really some of the handful of examples that we have. We have plenty more that we can talk about. And if you have questions, we'd love to address those. But I think I'll pass it off to William, your next one.
>> All right, so first of all, thank you to Janet and Andrea for inviting me to this webinar. It's a pleasure to be here. And thank you, Jessica, for that very enlightening and clarifying presentation. And thank you to everybody else in this call who made the choice to tune in to this important topic during their very busy days.
So a little bit of opening before I share my screen. So I saw that I believe I'm co-host. So I should have the ability to share the screen in a moment here. But some some useful background before I show you the tool that Janet alluded to. So the labs that I'm a part of is the Crisis Technologies Innovation Lab.
And we really exist for the purpose of building bridges between technology and data to help crisis responders and communities prepare for the future. So that's really sort of the high level objective of the work that the lab partakes in. More recently, we've been focused on work that is centered around optimizing decision making processes that lead to better community resilience long term.
So, Resilience, kind of like health. It's a concept that we all understand and generally agree on, but it sort of defies precise definition. But for the purpose of this talk, we'll think of resilience in terms of this capacity to thrive in sub-optimal conditions. Thriving in terms of economic health, infrastructure health, and things like that.
So why we're here today is to really talk about a joint effort that we are collaborating on with the Economic Development Administration and the Indiana Business Research Center on this app platform called APRED. Which stands for the Analysis Platform for Risk, Resilience, and Expenditure in Disasters. So as part of this work, we've collaborated with several economic developers across midwest to identify barriers to making optimized decisions for improving community resilience.
What we've found is that it's not necessarily for a lack of data or a lack of information. There's actually a lot of useful information out there. The real problem is that the data is often inaccessible. It lives in silos. And on top of that, there's thousands of silos.
The data lives on desktops, different servers, and so it's very difficult to bring it all together. So as part of our work between now and June, we're hoping to address this problem in three valuable ways. So the first is to really solve the silo problem. So can we bring this discreet data living in different places together and show how they can come together to describe some relevant information like funding opportunities for communities, opportunities to improve resilience, natural disaster prevalence moving forward?
And provide that into one cohesive operating picture for practitioners to use. The second thing that we like to do is to be able to predict outcomes. So how can we use the data to predict how funding does improve future resilience? So Jessica had mentioned in her presentation this idea of what is the cost of doing or not doing?
And so we'd like to be able to illustrate that in no uncertain terms on the platform as well. And the third thing that we'd like to provide at the tail end of this project is a prescriptive function. And so what we mean by that is we like to be able to take the data, the models that we're putting together.
And to be able to adjust what areas of investment make the most sense and are most likely to lead to long term resilience. So that's a little bit of background. What I'd like to do now is share where we're at today with the platform, what it can currently do.
And again, if there's time for questions or even after the call, I invite anybody to reach out to further discuss this platform, how it might be useful for you or the people that you work with. So let me see if I can get it to share. Okay, great, is that showing?
Okay, awesome, thank you. So each part of the platform that we've built up to this point is really intended to answer specific questions that stakeholders have asked us. So by and large, one of the biggest questions we get asked is where are my funding opportunities? So where are opportunities to invest in my community's future resilience?
One of the things that we have realized is that it's not always obvious where the funding opportunities are. So this is our way of making that a little bit easier for communities to identify. So what we've done here, for example, is so we'll use to know my county as an example.
There we go, there we go. So apologies for the delay there. So what we were able to show here are a couple of important pieces of information. So we show a timeline of FEMA disaster declarations. But on top of that, we show EDA supplementals that the community could potentially qualify for.
So this is a way of sort of providing a quick picture of what are the available funding opportunities to my community? And then what is the next step to get there? So you can click into the disaster supplemental details, and then you can quickly click to apply. So that is the first question that we're hoping to answer with this platform.
The second question that we were wanting to answer at this point is now that I have funding or now that I know that I have funding opportunities, how is my community presenting? And what we really mean by that is where are the gaps in my community that could benefit from investment to improve long term resilience?
So there's several things that we've put together and it's essentially a county profile. That would be relevant to that type of inquiry. So, I'll go basically from top to bottom here. So at the very top, you see descriptive statistics. Let me see if I can enlarge it. There we go.
Some relevant descriptive statistics through communities. So you have things like population, age distribution, GDP and median income, are very high level statistics related to Sonoma County. As we scroll lower, we show what's called a business vulnerability index. And so essentially, this shows you, what proportion of businesses in the community are susceptible, or highly vulnerable to future disasters, whether natural or economic.
Obviously, there's not a lot of change in these graphs, and so we're working to show some additional level of resolution to make this more usable moving forward. The second component, is this idea of disaster resilience. So, as you can see here, there are several different components here that feed into this notion of overall community resilience.
So, we show that, at these different levels, and if you click, stakeholders, you're able to see precisely what these different measures mean, in terms of how they're calculated and you're able to compare how your county does relative to the state, relative to the US average. And it's important to note that, none of these measures were created in a vacuum, but it's actually the byproduct of extensive research done by Susan Kotter at the University of South Carolina, really pulling together a lot of diverse research that's been done in this space.
And she's essentially put together this blueprint, which is what we're showing here, is all of these measures coming together to demonstrate what overall community resilience, looks like. And the last component is showing natural disaster prevalence. So, really to address that question of, sort of, what of something, the climate related natural disaster incidences that are occurring in my community, and what potentially could be more prevalent moving forward.
So, this is the county level profile. And then if we go back, there's a couple of other views that we call macro views. So just, potentially useful descriptive information that stakeholders might find valuable to explore in more detail. So, we have a disaster resilience map, so we're able to pick these different categories of resilience, and look at it at a macro level in terms of what communities are thriving, and what are potentially not doing as well in the United States.
We're also able to look at EDA supplemental awards to date, so you can get a sense of what communities have been awarded funds at this point, and then perhaps equally important understanding what communities have not been funded or have not received funding yet. So, again, this is the platform on a high level.
And right now, this is really intended to describe the situation. So this is a descriptive platform. But what we'd like to do is, baking these prescriptive and predictive features that I alluded to. And again, if there's anybody on this call who would like to take a deeper dive or potentially provide input on how this could benefit you moving forward, we'd certainly invite you to reach out, so we can have that discussion.
So, thank you so much, again, everybody for your time and I think it's back to Janet now.
>> All right. Thanks so much to both of you. Very informative and inspiring. So you can put your questions in the chat room. Well, that's one way to do it. I think we can also just have people unmute themselves and ask a question, and if that gets unruly well, I'll put a stop to that.
>> But and, William, you've got done so fast that I didn't have time to formulate a question to start the bidding left. So, anybody have any questions they'd like to ask either William or Jessica?
>> Well, I'll ask one, can you hear me?
>> Yes, thanks, Haverly.
>> Hi, this is sort of a random question.
I haven't really formulated it, but and it may be more for Jessica, but I'm not sure it may not apply to William as well. And I'm thinking Jessica, as you talked about values, and I'm thinking and just to the last few weeks critically, thinking about equity and equity lens for this kind of work.
So I'm curious what thinking has been done from your own work, cuz the work you're describing here under IUPUI or else IUB or elsewhere. And the notion of an equity lens, especially as it may help us think, look at gaps, as we think about talking and talking about gaps, when you're talking about gaps, gaps based on what?
So that's my question, just that kind of thing. It's a random question.
>> Yeah, so the campus kitchen, I think is a great embodiment of that, of addressing equity issues. Addressing this issue of students food insecurity, to try to give the most students as possible a fighting chance to be able to complete their courses on time, stay active and in their academic pursuits.
So, in sustainability, there's always the social lens through which we're able to analyze things through. And even in having discussions on campus around, things like recycling, we often bring up the question of, well, do you know where your waste goes? At least in Indianapolis, oftentimes it's gonna be, it will go close to the community, that is already experiencing a hardship, right?
So, when you think about where are your landfills, and where are your incinerators or they're not in the nice affluent neighborhoods, right? They're in the ones that are predominantly minority, and have a socio-economic barriers. So as an institution, is that okay for us, to make our waste impact somebody else's quality of life?
Right, for it to go to them. So often times, these things are part of the conversation, but they're not necessarily explicitly, this is one of those externalities that are hard to add to the financial model, but they are certainly a part of the discussions when we have them.
>> Because of that, could I ask a follow up question, then I will be quiet?
>> I think you talked about values, and I think it's half price cost values, and as long they err, so but in your work, is equity a fundamental part of the analysis, that's done?
>> Yes, yes,
>> And just in that case, how it works. I know the big picture stuff. Yeah, I'm sure we all agree. I'm curious, how does it work in practice, for doing resiliency analysis and planning from an equity perspective?
>> So this may be a little bit answered differently for cities than for universities,-
>> Sure you've touched it.
>> To some extent we're a bit homogeneous, as in we're all working on the same thing-
>> Yeah, yeah.
>> Together at the same time. But regardless of that, usually our questions are on equity on how, what we do impacts those around us.
>> So what our institutional impact is, verses, I would see how from a city perspective, it would be well, who's gonna be the most vulnerable, and how do we solve this problem for them as a governing body? That's a little bit outside of our scope, just because of who we are, our organizational limits.
>> Okay, thank you very much.
>> So Jeff had a question to William, that you showed a California example. Do you have these data for counties in Indiana, what would that look like?
>> Yeah, so that was just an example for illustration. But yes, we can pull out counties in Indiana.
So if it be helpful, I can show that right now or just-
>> Why did you do that? We have argument.
>> Yeah, absolutely. Okay, oops, sorry I accidentally clicked the county.
>> Apologize, it's running a little bit slowly today, but normally it's fairly quick, okay? So let me go back here, so I-
>> Hendricks county, can you pull up Hendricks county?
>> Yeah. Okay, so I'm not sure if there's a specific thing that would be useful to call attention to. But, again, similar to the profile showed earlier, it's the same information but again contextualize for Hendricks County. So we'll show the same descriptive statistics.
>> There's a disaster declaration related to the pandemic.
>> Actually, that's for Hendrix County.
>> That's correct, and again, the goal of having this sort of be among the first piece of information that you see as it's really intended just make it obvious. What are the immediate opportunities right now, for my community or for my county in terms of being able to apply for funds?
Again, you mentioned an opportunity related to the pandemic, the good news is that the latest, actually for funding from the EDA applies I believe, to all counties. So everybody's uniformly eligible, which is good.
>> And William, I think you've told me in the past that the reason why this is important is because right now, when cities and counties are trying to apply for certain types of grants, they need to list what past declarations they've received.
And there's no good way for them to find that out unless they've been tracking it on their own. So this will be a nice database for where people can access that information, so I remember that correctly?
>> Yes, yeah, and it's part of this overarching goal of just making this process less time intensive.
So how can we bring all the information for you at one place? How can we alleviate the need to have one more phone call exchange or another email chain, and just make that a simpler process for communities looking to apply for funding?
>> And when will people be able to have access to this database so that they can take this information to their to their local leaders or others?
>> So if we're talking strictly with respect to just these like descriptive data. So maybe what you see in this profile, we are working with the EDA and the rest of our team to get it looked through by legal teams to make sure the language is compliant and appropriate.
So we are hoping by the end of June, and if it works, what we can do is we can work with ERI to send that in the form of a newsletter or an announcement. So that everybody on this call will know the moment that it's available.
>> It's very near term.
>> Yes, the things that would be longer term would be those predictive and prescriptive components. Those things would not be available till much later.
>> Okay, great, and Ben asks, William, how does does the database stay up to date?
>> That's a good question. So one of our partners is in the data Business Research Centre.
So they are sort of the core team that maintains keeping all these data up to date. So the rule of thumb for this project is to automate as much as possible. So I think essentially every data point that feeds into this is automatically scheduled to be collected from their respective data sources and then reflected on the platform.
So I don't know if that answers the question if there's anything else I can clarify on there.
>> Great So while other people are thinking of questions, I'll tell you guys one thing I was thinking about when Jessica was going through her discussion. Which is, wow, this would make a really great workshop for people to do the exercise of identifying their institution's values, and figuring out where those are embodied.
And then picking an activity, recycling bins or whatever and going through the analysis. And with people actually sitting with a computer, or paper and pencil, working through this from the perspective of their own organization. So I'm very good at thinking up things for other people to do.
>> But I wonder If people think that that would be a useful thing, might you throw something in the chat box and tell us that that's something that you would find useful and participate in.
>> Yeah, because it's like I said in the presentation there is no one size fits all solution, it's so customized and tailored. So I can sit up here and talk about our three price-led solutions, but they may not be price-led solutions for you because your pricing is different.
So I would be really good to march through that with folks.
>> On that topic, we have a question from Kyle that says, businesses seem to use a shorter timeframe for ROI, ten years as IUPI uses would be rare in the private sector. So how can you make a financial case for ROI for a company that is looking at two years?
>> So my my initial response to that is actually a lot of your biggest, most impactful, most savings projects in sustainability and resilience are gonna have a longer term ROI than two years. So I guess you might be stuck with small potatoes sustainability and resilience projects, versus if you're looking to save $20 million over ten years, you're gonna need a longer ROI frame than that.
And you're gonna be actually missing out on some really, really big savings opportunities by having such a narrow window. So not to say you couldn't still hold firm to that two-year ROI but I still think that it's good for hopefully somebody in this space to say, hey, I know we have a two-year ROI.
But you know, if we look at five, we can actually say $20 million? Maybe that's what we're talking about.
>> And Jessica, one thing you said to me the other day was that well IUPUI has been around for 200 years, and we're just looking at a ten-year return on investment.
So it seems like there is an argument for a longer term and that's certainly true of all the local governments too. I mean, these local governments have been around for a long time. So why are we looking at such a short period for ROI?
>> I think, especially for public institutions, it might be a bit easier to make that argument like let's stick let's extend our window.
But hopefully you want your business to be around more than two years.
>> So I realized that in business, there may not be the flexibility to bring in things that may seem intangible. But of course, when Jessica was talking about externalities, those are not in fact, intangible, those are actual costs that actual entities are bearing.
We just traditionally have not included them in our cost benefit analysis. And I think that that's an argument that accountants may or may not appreciate, economists certainly appreciate. And one would hope that responsible corporate leaders Would be increasingly willing to consider.
>> So I have a question. Is that all right?
Well, it's for Jessica. So it's interesting because I think there's an underlying theme here which is it feels like almost a human tendency.
>> Hello, this is Jeffrey Haverly. I'll be in-
>> All good. A human tendency to think about ROI in the very immediate term, right? Because ROI and investment, the way you think about it is largely contingent on the space of time that's under consideration.
Right? So my question is how can an organization, private or public, be more intentional about thinking more longer term? Just simply because it is a tendency to think about ROI in terms of next year. My favorite phrase that you said during your presentation was multiply that times forever.
Because there's a fundamental truth here, which is if you're optimizing something, the effects are cumulative indefinitely over again the span of however long your organization is there. So I don't know. What are your thoughts on that? What are the ways an organization who's not thinking this way can be intentional about thinking this way?
>> So I think some of it goes back to that value proposition, like speaking to an organization's values, because there have been decisions that the university have made that have been beyond that ten year ROI window. But it just took a heck of a lot more convincing. And some of that was around proof of concept.
But if we do this now, we know it's more expensive now, but let's do it on a small scale now so that when speaking specifically about renewable energy, so that when that time or when that price does come down to a price point that is within that window that we're comfortable with.
We have had x numbers of years of knowing how to optimize them, how to maintain them, how to take care of them, so we know we can get our best return out of that particular investment. So there have been examples of where that ten year has been busted.
But it definitely took a lot more finagling and more convincing. So I don't know if that answers, I don't even really know if I know how to answer your question honestly. But that's an example of how that can happen. I think a lot of it just takes really honest, transparent conversations with people.
Like that's what I found is like having these hard conversations about asking the question, why do we have a two year ROI? What was the point of that? Like what was the values that informed that decision? What was the philosophy that informed that decision and can we revisit it?
And if we can't, why not? I think having these and they might be a little bit painful. But I think like now's the time for us to ask these uncomfortable questions around why we make the decisions that we make. And like I know in cities, sometimes it's based on election cycles.
Well, if I've been a resident in Annapolis since I've been born, right? I don't care about a four year cycle, right? I care about my lifetime's worth of my cycle.
>> So also take the position of like the people that you serve, your customers, your citizens, your students, what are they gonna expect out of you?
That matters too.
>> So we're right at one o'clock and I know a lot of people have to hop including myself. There was one more question for Jessica, about whether it takes more effort to convince decision makers when you make arguments for value lead decisions. Andrea, can we leave the line open for another minute or so for Jessica to answer that, and I'm going to exit and thank everybody, William and Jessica for a great discussion.
And I'll see you guys all next month.
>> Thanks Janet. Yeah, to answer that question, the answer is it depends because it depends on how compellingly it speaks to the values of your institution. If you have data in front of you like we do around food insecurity. All right, that's a really known problem.
That's a big deal. Maybe it doesn't take as much effort to convince somebody that it's worth investing in that. I do think it is important that for those moral value led decisions, you make very explicit connections between what you are suggesting and what the institution wants to accomplish.
If you just come to the people with a feel good project, we're just gonna do it because it feels good. That's probably not gonna go much of anywhere unless you just happen to fall on sympathetic ears. But if you say, hey, not only does this project make us feel good.
But it also does all these other things around fulfilling our mission as an organization or fulfilling our business plan or our goals. I guess the effort would then be more on our part to develop a compelling argument, but like in conversation, it doesn't take as much effort to convince someone, if you've done your homework.
Well, thanks, Jessica, those are certainly motivating words for us to try to argue for all the efforts we wanted to get done, but maybe don't have the budget to do immediately. So thanks to you for your wise words and thanks to William for sharing your tool and all of your wise efforts happening at the Luddy School.
So, we are gonna sign off now but thanks to all of our attendees and look for an email from me with more information in the coming days. Take care everyone.
>> Take care.
>> Simply Britain, take care.