JLL’s Dan Probst Wins Next-Gen Buildings Award

Jones Lang LaSalle has garnered a new claim to fame in the sustainable development arena. Its very own Dan Probst, the commercial real estate services firm's chairman of energy and sustainability services, just became the recipient of the very first VERGE 25 Award in the category of Next-Gen Buildings.

Dan Probst

Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. has garnered a new claim to fame in the sustainable development arena. Its very own Dan Probst, the commercial real estate services firm’s chairman of energy and sustainability services,just became the recipient of the very first VERGE 25 Award in the category of Next-Gen Buildings.

“Buildings are a big consumer of energy and that’s a big contributor to global greenhouse emissions, and [next-generation building] is a huge opportunity to make buildings more energy-efficient and more efficient in their use of materials, and to make buildings healthier and more productive work environments for people,” Probst told Commercial Property Executive. “And technology is a big part of the answer when we talk about next-generation buildings.”

Probst was one of 25 winners of a VERGE 25 Award, presented by environmental news publication Greenbiz.com, which defines VERGE as the resulting “unprecedented opportunity for business and sustainability” when energy, information, building and transportation technologies intersect. The Next-Gen Buildings category honors leadership in such issues as harnessing building automation systems and advocating data transparency, and Probst ticks those boxes and then some.

Probst, who has spent more than 20 years of his three-decade-long real estate career with JLL, played a central role in creating the firm’s IntelliCommand integrated facilities management platform. The program yields energy reductions of 15 to 20 percent across corporate portfolios through the utilization of cloud computing and a remote command center operation.  He also heads up teams that use JLL’s proprietary programs to assess and improve energy and sustainability performance; programs that have resulted in more than $100 million of energy savings and approximately 2 million tons of carbon reductions over the last four years.

“We manage a lot of property on behalf of our clients and we’re in a position–just because of size and scale and the number of buildings that we touch–to be leaders in the industry and help solve these problems and find ways to make buildings more efficient and have less of an impact,” said Probst, who is also member of JLL’s Global Environmental Sustainability Board.

One of JLL’s biggest splashes in sustainability is its retrofitting project for the world-renowned Empire State Building. The program is designed to reduce the 2.8 million-square-foot property’s annual energy costs by $4.4 million and decrease its carbon footprint by as much as 38 percent.

“We’re showing that an old 1930s building can be made to perform better and dramatically reduce the cost of the building operations and make a better work environment,” said Probst. “Showcase projects like that are another big goal of ours, just to be able to get out there and not just talk about this stuff from a theoretical standpoint, but really show practical applications in the marketplace.”

JLL was also part of the team that paved the way for the Moscone Center in San Francisco to obtain LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, making the 2 million-square-foot property the first convention center on the West Coast to secure the designation.

JLL has many goals in the promotion of next-gen buildings. The firm hopes to continue to push the sustainability movement forward in the commercial real estate industry through education and awareness.

“If we show business models and economic models that show that high-performance green buildings can also be a better financial proposition for building owners, operators and occupiers, then we can really help advance the agenda.” Probst added. “Because it’s not just about spending money to improve the environmental performance of a building, it’s also about building owners and investors and the economics of it and wanting to build and demonstrate that there are ways to make buildings perform better and also improve economics at the same time.”