Sara Neff oversees all sustainability initiatives at Kilroy Realty Corporation, a real estate investment trust. Sustainability is now embedded throughout the business from building materials and their 10-K to their electronic handbooks for tenants. Neff’s work has saved over 21.5 million kilowatt-hours in energy, equivalent to planting nearly 400,000 trees.
Neff also serves on the National Advisory Council of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and chairs the board of the Los Angeles chapter, which hosted this year’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. With USGBC, she has championed the Green Janitor Education Program in Los Angeles, which consists of 30 hours of training to encourage green cleaning practices. “We have all these conversations about sustainability,” she says, “but nobody ever bothers to include the janitors, even though they’re really the eyes and ears of the building.” She enrolled all 38 of Kilroy’s eligible buildings in the program, the most of any landlord.
She is also helping launch green training for electricians, plumbers, and other contractors through USGBC-LA and plans to require Kilroy’s subcontractors to use the training. Through USGBC-LA, Neff works with the faith community to improve energy efficiency in churches, and she works with public schools in underserved communities to plant gardens.
Neff personally has created an urban sustainability philanthropic fund to fund small projects in Los Angeles. The first two projects involve supporting community gardens through demonstration and teaching.