Asset Investment Planning for a Sustainable Future

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City of Palo Alto Building Electrification Approach

Murdo Nicolson, the asset manager for the City of Palo Alto, walks us through the city’s approach to city-owned building electrification.



Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. Thank you all for being here. It is, end of October how where has this year gone already.

So one is, you know, thank you everybody for attending. You know, I know it's a busy time of year for a lot of people kind of going into the the mid fall project coordination and and whatnot. So, definitely wanna make sure that that your time is gonna be well spent So, I'm Matt Smith. I'm gonna be sort of the MC and, leading, leading us through this asset investment planning for a sustainable future, webinar series that, I sort of, in coordinating with the brightly marketing team have put on and, trying to do these series kinda quarterly.

Really excited today for us as we're gonna be, hearing from the city of Palo Alto, specifically, myrtle myrtle Nicholson had, have had some awesome opportunities to work with myrtle When I told him about this opportunity, he was excited to kind of share some of the hard work that he's been doing. And, I think you're really gonna understand why we're excited as we jump in here. So, some housekeeping items for us.

You know, First off, I wanna say, you know, we do have a a Q and A. So ask questions. The session is being recorded.

So if you have, you know, if you wanna share this out. You'll get an email afterwards, with the recording of this. If you learn something, you wanna go back and review some of these golden nuggets, we're gonna hear from Myrto you know, you know, you'll have that opportunity. But again, we'll do a Q and A at the end, but as you can see within the platform here, we, encourage if there's that you want us to clarify or understand a little bit more as we're kind of going through this. You know, don't hesitate to, speak up We do have, Tracy with the Bretely Marketing team that will kinda help ping us or, let us know if we, you know, have some questions in the middle of some of these slides. So let's go ahead and jump in.

You know, I think we should start with the the why we are here.

And it's really important to sort of level set, you know, why we're here and, and why you're sort of in attendance, in attendance today because know, the alarming state of America's infrastructure is a C minus. And, you know, as the California counter executive, if we dive into, the California infrastructure grades, the the reports back are are aren't that much better. So, I think this c minus kind of signifies that our infrastructure is in a mediocre mediocre state, which, you know, signifies deficiencies and, and, and major growing concerns.

And if we narrow that focus in, you know, to various level of asset classes or divisions within you know, with our infrastructure here.

You know, you can kind of approach ways to make these improvements.

And the main goal for us is, you know, if we look at this, the best way to sort of, identify and and have and highlight some of these, some of these issues is understanding the need of investment, but then also prioritization.

And really that's gonna be sort of, Myrtle's sort of main sort of conversation for us here coming up in a little bit. So, you know, times are changing. The things that we've been doing in the past really had sort of been working, but really, you know, as we've sort of signified with that C minus is where, you know, what we're doing today isn't wasn't working prior. And what we're doing in twenty years you know, may not be working, you know, for the future here. So the main goal, I think, in looking at these, you know, these these initiatives passed down by the state is, you know, these California climate action plan sort of encompasses a range of initiatives and policies aimed at reducing, you know, either greenhouse gas emissions, or other sustainability, you know, promoting renewable energy and proving overall, you know, sustainability.

And so a comprehensive approach sort of aligns with the statement states commitment to addressing infrastructure issues, you know, through innovative and environmentally conscious strategies. You know, obviously California at the forefront of that City of Palo Alto today, really at the forefront of what we're gonna be talking about. But, you know, you have state saying, hey, you know, let's, you know, it's time for a change. You have cities saying time for a change, counsel pushing the, you know, this down onto facilities, public works, you know, sustainability departments, and everyone kinda looking at each other and say, okay, We all think this is a great mission, but, hey, how are we gonna get there?

And, you know, public works facilities, they're like, yeah, You know, that could be a really good question.

You know, if it were something that you could just do in a year, the, you know, these measures would be put in place and they wouldn't say, Hey, we have to do this by forty five or twenty thirty, you'd say, Hey, we're gonna have this done by, you know, twenty twenty four.

And, you know, you've been sitting here working super hard to get a new boiler you know, and you've paid two hundred fifty thousand dollars for this net net new boiler, but, you know, but now you have this net zero initiative and that's sort of counter intuitive to what you've been trying to work towards for for these capital improvements while also now having these sustainability goals.

So you can't just throw that boiler away. So you've gotta, you know, look at that boiler. What's a replacement gonna be over the, sort of, the next, you know, fifteen years or when we're gonna replace that and So you gotta have, modeling to sort of manage that not just, you know, one natural gas boiler, but look at a hundred natural gas or all of your boy, you know, all of your natural gas asset natural gas assets, of your sustainability initiatives, and approach them in a strategic manner manner. And that's exactly what, you know, Myrtle has done. And, sort of in this framework that we're gonna walk through here called asset investment planning.

And so, you know, you got these targets. You know, how are you gonna potentially get there? You know, kind of teeing up this framework that we look through here at know, through the brightly lend lens. And the first question is, you know, what is asset investment planning? Right? And really, it's the understanding of your capital expenditures and your operational managers. It's, you know, it's the process of identifying prioritizing and optimizing the investments that a city or county are making in these assessments to achieve a desired outcome.

You know, and it enables organizations to make informed decisions but also considering factors such as asset conditions such as criticality such as, hey, compliance and risk mitigation But, you know, for the for us specifically, what I'm trying to get real everyone to really understand is you're already sort of doing these things. Why not also look through the sustainability lens as well. So analyzing that asset data, evaluating these investment options and then developing a plan forward, to to help improve, you know, improve these communities. And, you know, obviously, technology can help with that.

So, you know, asset investment planning. I'm not gonna spend too much time here, but, you know, how do you prioritize your investments? The scope really is, you know, you analyze prioritize and you optimize, what's the time horizon? It's typically a much more shorter approach to a larger goal.

Right? So, you know, looking at the, you know, looking at this cities, example of, hey, these are our, you know, community greenhouse gas emissions. You know, if our strategic goal is we wanna be sun setting, you know, a state level by twenty forty five or twenty forty.

You know, what is gonna be some of our short term, initiatives that we can help start checking by is to help, you know, with with the net zero initiatives.

The decision making process, it's not just one person. You know, it's much more tactical.

You know, you're looking at investment options. You're looking at, you know, prioritizing, you know, based on condition, based on asset life, or, you know, based on, you know, sustainability goals or other potential city wide goals.

You know, stakeholder involvement, I think, today, This is the one of the things that I that that when talking with myrtle and talking with the city of Palo Alto that they do an excellent job of stakeholder involvement.

You know, we say, you know, we view it as, you know, your asset managers, your finance teams, your capital planning departments, you know, that's who should be looking at these these investment as you're making, you know, capital improvements.

And when we actually get into talking with Myrtle here, you're gonna kinda see why. So this is the framework. So as you're kind of thinking about, hey, Matt, asset investment planning is awesome. I, you know, this sounds really cool. And how should we be thinking about this? Right. So I always like to talk about, you know, Phil Knight, you know, Triangle offense, you know, obviously coach with the Lakers, you know, won a bunch of rings with a bunch of different organizations.

But, you know, think here on out, whenever you are looking at doing asset investment planning or prioritizing, you know, how are we going to be looking at our capital improvement processes think about the triangle. So at the top, you have your organizational direct direction. So that's coming down from city council. That's coming down from a maybe, a county council or city manager, you know, the investment planning process.

Right? You know, when are we gonna be replacing? How much is this gonna be costing us? Can we afford to be doing all of this?

Or do we have these resources in house or, you know, externally? And so if you think about, you know, this example of you know, carbon neutral by twenty forty five as a state state or, state initiative, you know, sunsetting natural gas assets is an investment plan. Right? This is a way that we can sort of approach approach just one of the many different options that we can utilize to tackle this.

Right? Cause the age old saying is there's multiple, you know, multiple ways to, you know, skin a cat, so to speak. Right? There could be seven to ten different ways that, you know, a city could approach you know, trying to be carbon neutral.

But really, a lot of that data needs to be flowing up from, you know, your operational day to day operations, but then also those, you know, that capital expenditures as well. And then, you know, monitoring your asset base. And, you know, thinking about with that triangle, what are some of those potential challenges?

Right? What when when trying to implement or understand a concept like this, What are the biggest challenges that we see within a within a city or a county or municipality here is is first number one is data quality. Right? Like, if you did a facility condition assessment, so I'm, you know, working with Citi, then it's a facility condition assessment back in in twenty eighteen.

In twenty twenty one, they did a needs assessment by their energy team, and they had they went in and replaced all of those assets. Right? So they they have all of this awesome data, but it's all kind of scattered throughout because of which also leads into, you know, challenge number two of organizational siloing. Right?

So talking, you know, back to with that stakeholder involvement organizational siloing, what it really is is everyone is thinking about sort of the lane that they're in. Right? If we're gonna be, you know, who, you know, the finances of all of these assets, well, that's probably living in, you know, in finance. Right?

If we have our facility condition assessment done, that's living within facilities. Right? But if by sharing this information across, across an organization and really sort of lowering those walls and lowering those silos, you know, you get better involvement and better communication to make better informed decisions to help with that five, ten year, twenty year, multi year, asset investment plan or capital improvement plan.

Resource management, I think, in today's society with what we're dealing with resource management, I think, is one of the biggest challenges, you know, facing cities and communities because resource management is looked at it as two different ways.

One, it's do we have the in house staff to tackle a project like this? So, yeah, this is a great project. We wanna do it. Do we have the in house staff to do it?

Do we have the in, in house institutional knowledge? Yes. But do we have the knowledge to make these improvements? And the answer may be no.

Right? And so I do think that, you know, this is why you're seeing more and more cities and counties you know, working with third party, contractors and various, you know, other types of firms to bring them in to get that expertise because they're saying, hey, you know, these are our goals. We know what we need to be doing, but we don't have the bandwidth or we don't have the knowledge to do so. So we need to hire this out to give, you know, help the help along these projects.

And, you know, communication to stakeholders, this is one that's huge. If you're if you're doing all this work, and you're not, you know, communicating what you're doing back to your stakeholders, how do they know what direction to go?

You know, and it's also project prioritization. Right? Just because something is the most important thing to your division, whether that's, you know, hey, we need to be going and improving these streets, and this is what's most important to streets. You know, if a a city or county, you know, general manager or city manager has all of these projects, how do we prioritize those to make sure that we're optimizing the funding that we do have for making improvements, but then also, you know, could we potentially be killing two birds with one stone, so to speak?

So you know, that being said, I'm getting ready to really get into the meat of today. Just wanted to run through, you know, we do these webinars quarterly, this is the framework that we're looking at the cities and the counties that we talk to. And then we're gonna kinda walk through this framework you know, right, you know, getting ready to jump in with Myrto here at the city of Palo Alto. So as we're going through these, please, you know, think about these common challenges because I think you're gonna see Murdo just naturally doing these things and overcoming a lot of these challenges and, you know, and that's why he's here presenting for us today.

So with that being said, you know, I'm gonna kinda turn things on. We have City of Palo Alto, and, you know, give it on over to to murder Nicholson Hey, Matt. Thank you. Hello, everyone.

And I wanna thank you, for the opportunity to be part of this experience.

It really shows a long way of where I've come from for the 1990s to where I am today.

Back in the day, What I was learning about environmental studies, there really wasn't anywhere that fit into what I wanted to do in life. Luckily, I came across Humble State University where they allowed me to create my own degree in natural resource management with an emphasis in GIS.

Oddly enough, that's basically what I do today, except I'm not doing natural resources. I'm doing asset management with GIS.

To understand my background of why I've probably chosen for this position that I'm in. I have ten plus years of experience in general construction knowledge, sixteen years managing street reconstruction projects that involved, using green products to reduce CO2 use.

I've been the infrastructure project manager since twenty sixteen.

And then twenty three years of GIS experience, primarily using Esri. And I was excited when my boss came to me and said, Hey, you're in charge of writing the scope for the facility condition assessment RFP.

It was a challenge. I hadn't accomplished that before, but I knew it would enable me to dive into some other topics like sustainability, which back in the day when I learned it was environmentalism.

Next slide, Matt. Yep.

For those of you who don't know where the city of Palo Alto is, it's technically the birthplace of the Silicon Valley.

It's located right next door to Melo Park. I see my neighbor is here watching this presentation.

Welcome to it.

The city is named after a redwood tree that still exists today in the city called El Palo Alto, And of course, the city was created by Leland Stanford, who also created Stanford University named after him.

The odd and unique specialty about city of Palo Alto is we are a charter city where we own all of our own utilities, and we purchase only carbon neutral energy carbon offset natural gas through the grid.

Not a lot of cities can say they do that. That is huge.

We last did a facility condition assessment in two thousand and nine that ended up resulting in a lot of changes in the city that created a twenty fourteen Council adopted infrastructure plan that, well, created my position, which was nice.

Provided immediate funding for capital improvements.

We're still working on those and a long range plan for new facilities and replacement of outdated ones.

Another cool fact of Palo Alto is that we are one of the few agencies in California that is APWA accredited and Some of the information required for the accreditation kind of leads into why we need to be more sustainable.

And that deals with some of the requirements that require an asset management system and infrastructure planning systems built in And so that's part of a brand new twenty twenty three certification that we're going back through right now.

Next slide, Matt. Thanks.

Sustainability, climate action plan known as the SSCAP So Palo Alto is a longtime leader in sustainability, making impressive progress towards reducing its carbon impacts greenhouse gas, GHD emissions, and resource consumption. The sustainability work group has developed diverse strategies needed to meet our sustainability goals.

So with that said, my presentation today was really just gonna focus only on the alleged vacation of city owned facilities. That's just a small part of the overall strategies being utilized to reach the city goals.

So you may want to request this link, or we can write it later on. But if you have any questions more about our standability department. Here's the link right here. I'm sure we can share it later.

For those of you in California, these are the emission reduction goals set by the state of California. The forty eight percent below nineteen ninety levels by twenty thirty in Carbon neutral by two thousand and forty five.

Powell is eighty percent below nine nineteen ninety levels by two thousand and thirty, and to be carbon neutral by two thousand and thirty.

So the city goals are almost double California as goals.

And carbon neutral goals fifteen years early.

That's by taking a serious deep dive into sustainability strategies.

Imagine if there were more agencies in California that could match these goals. Perhaps the state of California as a whole could exceed the state mandated limits and even help out those cities that weren't able to make their goals.

Right below that, you can see what our emissions were in nineteen ninety. Seven hundred and eighty thousand metric tons at Carbon at equivalent versus twenty twenty one reduced it down to three hundred and fifty nine thousand.

So As of twenty twenty one, we had already dropped down to fifty four percent in emission reductions, which is pretty impressive.

Since twenty twenty one, we have already replaced a couple other buildings, and that will make these numbers go up even further.

So that brings us to part of why are we here today? You can go to the next slide, man. Yeah. And and myrna, I know before I kinda jump on it, you know, I wanna make sure we're giving kudos where kudos is needed.

You know, City of Palo Alto obviously been doing a lot of really great work in in carbon reductions and and helping with that. And when we were making this PowerPoint presentation, there was Murdo had a lot of slides. And I was like, these are these are all awesome. But if we could put all of this maybe on one slide, because, you know, I this this one slide, I think, speaks volumes.

While at the same time, you know, the city has done so much already and they're still wanting to go.

And that's a great that's a good conversation.

A good question here we have here, is how does Palo Alto define carbon neutral role.

Myrna did I know we were having some conversations with your sustainability director. Is this something that you you feel comfortable answering or would would you maybe wanna, you know, we can, you know, do you wanna take a look at it? I think those questions can be answered directly from the the city's website on sustainability.

Okay. Okay. Yeah. So there's a bunch of bunch of really cool things that y'all are doing. You know, how do they define carbon neutral?

You know, there's in that link and and orient, we can make sure that we we get that on over to you as well.

But progress towards carbon neutral neutrality. Maybe this will help kinda answer some of that, that, that first question there. This this graphic definitely helps explain it.


So, yeah, you know, power supply here, other admission sources, natural gas.

You know, the and these were some of the of the reports and some of the information that as you were talking with the sustainability director and let them know that you're gonna be talking specifically the city owned building electrification processes.

Sustainability director said, hey, you know, these are some front reports or these are some fun images. Please, you know, please be sure to to highlight these as well. So we wanna make sure that we, you know, at least, you know, got those got these slides in there for, for everybody that was potentially kinda various.

Basically, I mean, it shows up there. Yep. Sorry. Didn't mean to jump ahead here.

When I love on this slide, it it really shows that because of our offsets here, we're really at seventy one percent reduction.

I mean, cities and other agencies can use future offsets or make purchase offsets to help reduce their their carbon footprint as well.

I don't know if a lot of agencies know that.

It's a good way to go.

I did have a a comment on this slide before you move ahead. Is that Yeah. Yeah. Of course. If we continue to purchase natural gas off gas offsets, we'll decrease our natural gas consumption decreases.

Then we'll need to invest in future offsets of carbon sequestration, ways that cities can sequester carbon can come in green concrete, other ways, other things that cities can do to sequester carbon when they do construction projects within their city, they can take carbon and sequester it into building materials. They can use recycled products So you're reducing other carbon items coming into your community.

Primarily we need to reduce natural gas use in on ramp transportation. It's really what these slides are telling us.

Next slide.

So this really kind of sums up showing from nineteen ninety and then three years in a row. Twenty nineteen, twenty twenty, twenty twenty one where we had measurable and quantifiable information that was put into this nineteen ninety, everyone was using brown power supply for electricity.

Between nineteen ninety, about the same time, I was studying environmentalism at at Hubble State. To twenty nineteen, someone in the city, they decided, well, that's we don't need to buy brown power anymore and everything switched over to, their new purchases off the grid that they make. And It's crazy because the solid waste reduction in emissions is huge. It dropped from nineteen ninety. To where it is. I don't even see the line in twenty nineteen.

Most of that probably had to do with the removal of the incinerator at our, water quality control plan.

So reiterate, reiterating this slide. No brown power supply.

Solid waste emissions were basically eliminated. Just want to reiterate that. Then cool thing is you can see our target goal where it actually is on this list. It's that dash line by eight thousand and thirty to get to one hundred and fifty six thousand tons.

We're getting pretty close, but we still need to work hard to get to where we are.

Next slide.

Why electrify?

So as highlighted on the slide, you can see that blue area for natural gas use. It's within that small area that this electrification assessment, we're gonna talk about is involved in removing natural gas use from those buildings and city owned facilities within that category. Of course, residential and commercial buildings also fit within that category as well. But we're gonna focus only on city owned buildings today.

Why? Well, buildings become more comfortable.

It's less maintenance.

Lower operating costs. And most importantly, it's emission free.

Did you have any comments on this slide, man? Yeah. I was gonna say, you know, when we were presenting these slides as well, you know, I I and and the reason we put this little circle is, you know, This is where this project fits in. And when talking with cities and when talking with counties, there's multiple different projects you can be doing.

Right? And it's this the the whole goal with just showing is, like, there's a lot of different ways that we can you know, decrease this, you know, you know, we can decrease natural gas, you, you know, use or future emissions But how does this one project help with that larger goal? Right? And so when looking at it through the asset investment planning lens is this is a more tactical approach of, hey, Yes.

There's a hundred different things we could be doing.

Be but, hey, this is something, you know, we needed a facility condition assessment because the old one, you know, was outdated. That data was great. You know, we're we're we're essentially killing two birds with one stone because these were things that the city needed to be doing. We're also saying, Hey, this is our goal of twenty thirty.

And this this project can tie in with with those goals as well.

So, you know, I I think I think, you know, When when you were explaining this whole process to me, this this image really hit home for me of saying, okay, it's just this little sliver within all of this blue. There are other things in this blue that, you know, we're gonna be trying to trying to tackle But this helps bring that blue down just a little bit. And it's those incremental changes and those incremental, little improvements that, you know, are helping, I think, you know, city of Palo Alto and and also thinking about it. It's like you're not having to to, you know, eat the the elephant. So to speak with just one bite, it's a bunch of small little bites here.

Next slide. Yep.

How did the EA get started? Or how did the topic of electrification Assessment get started?

But, basically, the conceptual discussion for an education assessment was conceived during early scope design for the twenty twenty one facility condition assessment.

While I was researching scopes who work for facility condition assessments, I realized other efficiencies. We're doing assessment.

So some of these topics that I wanna do more research on.

And I think I don't scope doing a full level ashrae energy on Doing deep retrofit assessments to include solar at all facilities when they are electrified along with high energy efficiency upgrades.

Capital Planning Software to forecast the results of the FCA thirty years forward to put funding in place at the right time.

Asset tagging, all of maintainable equipment in our CMS system, an electrification assessment.

Analytics beyond Justin FCI, but an FNI index facility needs index where electrification costs are included in the index scores.

After weeks of online research, conceptual meetings with the individual staff, I created a working draft scope that included everything I just mentioned. Now, before moving on, funding is always a challenge, if not identified early on when you have a tru scope. The draft I considered was the Porsche of all FCAs.

We cleaned it up, but we had to reduce the scope to meet our funding level.

Next slide, please. I I'm gonna unpack that. Yeah. You I'm gonna ask you some questions here.

I'm gonna do it. So let you know. So in you basically create a Christmas list Right? You you know, hey, I I'm I'm a kid.

I this is everything I want to make the city better. And you then you have your parents coming and say, look, we don't have enough money get you all the toys that you want. Right? So, you know, funding Exactly.

So funding is always a challenge. I think for for any Right? You know, you do, you know, you can get federal grants. You could do, you know, you can go out and apply for things.

You know, you can maybe move, you say, hey, this project falls under this per view. We can maybe pull some money from here. We can pull some money from there. So at the end of the day, you didn't have enough funding.

And how did you then go back? So you built this portion of a of a list, as you had mentioned, how did you decide where to cut? Right? Like, how did you then say, hey, we can't afford a porsche. But you know what?

A Toyota Prius is pretty good. Right? Like, how did you decide to kind of bring this down? What did you cut? Why did you cut it? Maybe explain that a little bit further.

You know, as you're at, you know, to the audience here.

We might kind of address that a little further down in the presentation when we're talking to the stakeholders group. Yeah. It really had everything to do with the stakeholders.

But can everyone's wish list of what would be the best possible project to go out with, put everything in your scope and then put in a draft and bring it to your stakeholders to discuss and go through it and look at your funding sources.

We realized eventually, all these would be awesome things to include if you have it in the original scope of work. So Some agencies are different, but sometimes when you create a funding source, you may not have identified the true scope of the project.

And so in this case, I believe all we had was facility condition assessment in our original scope of work. So adding in all these other things There was no funding source for them because they really aren't a facility condition assessment. These are other things you can do at the same time you're having a facility condition assessment done. So when you're gonna identify a capital improvement project early on, Make sure you put all these other things in so you can have them as part of your project or remove them if you don't want them, or it can be done separately down the road. So we didn't have that funding silo to include any of these items. But as we get further down in the presentation, You'll see how members of the stakeholder came forward to help out with two items on this list. More specifically, the electrification assessment, and the couple planning software portion.


So you got your list, you've built out your scope, walk us through just the steps here. Right?

This is Myrto's steps for a successful RFP.

It's beautiful. It's a great visual for for people like me that needs a simple, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

Stakholder engagement, it all begins with stakeholder engagement. Definitely the most important part of any RFP CIP or IVB.

When you're at the stakeholder group, discuss your successes and downfalls of the previous FCA Develop new goals and objectives.

Identify roadblocks to success.

And draft a scope and obtained buy in by leadership that people will need to approve your final scope before you can get the market.

Can I ask, I think, buying from leadership is is is one?

How do you get maybe someone that may not be as fluent as yourself or somebody else. How do you, like, what what would, in your opinion, sort of the best way to kinda get buy in leadership? What are some of the the examples there or things that you have done or or maybe around this project to get buy in from leadership?

I don't think I had to do anything. I think the sustainability department created the buy in prior to me going out to bid with adding these other items.

But having your seniors in your department and the other departments involved, in my case, the director of public works, utilities, folks and the sustainability director, having those people involved in critiquing and finalizing what you have in your project can really help fine tune, education.

If your city is big on sustainability, they're gonna fit right into this. So you need to get buy in from the top all the way down. Residence Council, directors, senior staff.

And this project just fell into place. It was like a natural falling into place in the city of Palo Alto. It's what everyone wants.

What we need.

So let's let's jump into that sort of that, that first top that so CIP stakeholder group. That's a lot of names. Right? I mean, these are these are a lot of visions.

Yeah. First, I just started off with just me and one or two other people in public works engineering that I'm like, wait a minute. I should probably bring in the people who are in charge of maintaining the buildings, people who have this main manage the staff who does all the maintenance and operations at facilities.

They do some of their own capital replacements, bring in the senior building engineer who does CIP replacement through the engineering department.

Of course, bring it as a stateability manager because they know the most about what we're talking about here, in dealing with capturing energy usage, therms, like kilowatt hours, definitely had to go out to the utilities, commercial accounts manager.

And we talked with one of the power engineers who could run queries on calculate the therms, and we had to do some crazy quantification through them to see what building used. How many therms and and of course getting IT involved as well because we wanted to use the software, potentially use the software. And so you have to get your IT involved bring in a software, to the city. And once you get everyone meeting together, everyone is talking about it.

Yeah. It's a a great way to go. Get other people involved. The larger your stakeholder group, the better off you'll be. Because you get everyone's opinions. Some people have ideas you may not have ever considered.

And that's what happened with this work group.

So, age old saying of, you know, too many chefs in a kitchen. Right? You know, this is sort of counteract, you know, counteracting that concept, right, of, hey, rather than thinking if we loop in too many people, you know, yeah, this project may not happen. It's actually in your in your case, the opposite, right, of Hey, we need to understand therms. We need to go talk to utilities. You know, in order to we wanna be able to manage this, we need in some type of software, we need to talk to IT. So looping them so they understand the project.

And, you know, as we had talked about earlier in some of those challenges, one of the one of the biggest challenge with with you know, asset investment planning is organizational siloing. Look at all of these organizations that we are staring at right now. Look at all of these divisions that have their that understand what is needed to with within a, you know, the subset of this larger project to make sure that Hey, if if you go and tinker over in facilities, this is how it could potentially mess with utilities.

Right? So making sure that everybody's on the same page, and this is what we're gonna be doing, and this is what we're looking for. And I know, you know, it's the, it's the whole Kumbaya sort of concept here, but I when when you were explaining this to me, I was like, this this is one of my other favorite things that about this project is not only like seeing, hey, this is part of a larger whole, but the amount of people that this project touched and oversaw really goes to show what's possible and I do think a lot of cities and counties that I talk to, they get either scared or there's, you know, hey, we've, you know, tried doing something like this before.

It's But it's, hey, how is this all gonna benefit them and and what is this gonna essentially be utilizing or the goal that we're gonna accomplish with? So, you know, kinda going back to Myrto's successful steps to an RFP in a fun Matt version. So he really understands how to process all of this information. So it's just all in that previous slide, your stakeholder involvement.

Let's now talk about sort of some of those other processes here and maybe not such a visually friend friendly representation here, but at least you can kinda see, you know, the process as a whole, everything that sort of went into it before we even launched the FCA to go to a firm. So unpack this for us a little bit for, if you don't mind. Yeah. This is all the information that we started compiling and putting together.

It didn't happen in one meeting, but over multiple meetings over a couple of months. And this helped define the exact scope of the project.

And, I mean, our last facility condition assess was done in two thousand and nine.

And right off the bat, what were the successes of it? It led to new capital funds. It counseled buy in. Credit my position, right, right, funded the CMS.

But some of the challenges though, of the twenty two thousand nine FCA.

It was basically just a static snapshot in time report.

When you get a paper facility condition assessment, it's only as good as that moment that the project is printed on paper. It doesn't live or breathe. Especially if it's not in a software that can can take updates when a facility gets replaced and electrified. Now those pieces of equipment are no longer on the electrification list. Now they're part of just the replacement list and maintenance list, separate separated.

The data was not utilized in the CMS right off the bat.

No electrification assessment was included in It wasn't until twenty sixteen after my position was created that we brought in the CMS, basically, where we added in Ave almost every asset in the city, in the right of way, and buildings, parks, parking lots, you name it. That's basically a whole another discussion I need to have or webinar.

So as we decided to move towards, what are the new goals and objectives for our SCI? What did we want to accomplish?

What are some metrics that we need to provide?

How can we create visuals to provide staff or council.

A typical facility condition assessment just has a facility condition index.

Which is basically deferred maintenance divided by the replacement cost.

Okay? That gives you a nice number. You can plot it out See how one building compares to another, or you can go in and see, well, how are all of our libraries, how are all of our fire stations, in our case, we wanted to also, potentially track and see how facility condition indexes are at an asset hierarchy level, like how are all of our fire station electrical systems or plumbing systems? So you can look at individual systems.

Facility condition needs.

So for us, this was a good one. For silly condition needs, you basically are adding in your deferred maintenance, your CFP replacement, an electrification assessment divided by its replacement cost. So you're looking at a whole another bonging. But you really can't compare the buildings that aren't going to be electrified. So you almost have a separate report just for all the electrified buildings. Or the buildings that are candidates for electrification.

You also have an extended facility condition index.

Which is just another way of looking at the FCI.

We wanted to see thirty year cost projections.

What's five years, ten years, but knowing thirty years down the road, you're gonna be able to track assets by type or hierarchy, you're gonna be able to see all your recurring assets, a roof every ten years, or fifteen years, or twenty years. Your boilers are being replaced every twenty years. They'll all be on that kind of forward going thing or calculation.

But the electrification assessment, what do we want to calculate? Well, first, we need to know how many total therms we're using in a year to city facility assets.

We needed to find out how many therms each building actually using so we can detail and find that list of what not every building has gas. Okay.

Out of one hundred and forty something buildings, I think, forty two or forty forty something buildings have gas in it.

And we wanted to know what is the replacement schedule of those assets based on the remaining useful lifespan.

We wanted to make sure we could put this data into a CIP or a capital planning, capital investment software.

And of course, wanna link this data through open API, linker facility condition assessment, electrification assessment with their CMS, and I'll put it into Esri.

That way you can look at everything in a grand picture. And once everything's linked and integrated, you can run visuals in Esri from data, from the FCA or visuals in Esri from the electrical assessment, and all that information can be shared together.

But, of course, at the stakeholders meeting, we also had to identify the roadblocks to success.

There were no funds for electrification assessment or CIP software. They just weren't created in the original scope like I mentioned earlier.

So got back together, stakeholder engagement came back together again, and utilities came forward and helped fund the electrification assessment.

IT came in and funded the CIP software.

So that the Kumbaya experience right there by having that, it brought everyone back together. Otherwise, we would have just had a plain old FCA.

But of course, there were other things that we did have in the project, like asset tagging. If there's already some in there looking at the asset and in expecting and quantifying a maintainable piece of equipment.

Doesn't cost much more to have someone slap a barcode on it so it can be linked to your CMS system. Simultaneously at the same time. Take care of it while they're assessing it.

You think I covered everything there, Matt? I think you did a great job. Things I'm gonna note.

One is, again, stakeholder involvement. I know I keep hitting that. But, like, you said it just there. You know, we would have just had a, a, an FCA. Well, in two thousand and nine, you had an FCA.

Right? You would just be right back where you were twenty twenty three, if without that stakeholder involvement, you know, with utilities, helping you fund the electric electrification assess without IT understanding why this project is important, they step up and say, hey, we're gonna, we're gonna, you know, we're gonna fund the CIP software.

Right? And now I'm not saying every IT or every utilities department's gonna go and fund all the projects that, you know, the audience wants to have. But it's it's making them aware of what our goals are, what the projects are, and and this is why it's important not only to the city, but also, you know, to the to the communities around And that and that's honestly, this is exactly why we have you sharing this presentation is it's like if you have if you have issues funding things, you go ask for help. Right?

So this gets into okay. You built your built your scope you went through all these processes, you understand the funding sources, and now you put the RFP out to the street. Right? You you you send it out there, you know, you say, here are our goals.

Here's our blueprint.

Walk us through this if you don't mind.

Sure. Yeah. We're just gonna focus on the electrification here because the FCA assessment requirements are multiple pages longer than the EA. Yeah. Because the focus was on the FCA. This was just our bonus.

Mhmm. So the goals of the in verification assessment reports show that the pathway to reach an eighty percent reduction of emissions by two thousand and thirty or the pathway for forty percent reduction of emission by twenty, thirty, eighty percent by two thousand and forty.

And some of the reasons why you would need to do that is because of remaining useful lives.

If you have a boiler that was installed in two thousand and has a thirty year life cycle, it won't be available to be replaced until two thousand and thirty or beyond. We've had maintenance and other work done to it. So lifespans of assets are gonna exist between two thousand and thirty and two thousand and forty no matter what we do.

And it brings you to a tough point. Bring are you gonna electrify all your assets in a building at one time or you're gonna do it when it makes the most sense and that's replace them when the remaining useful life expires. So those are some items that people need to consider.

On the right here, it just shows a snapshot of where we were. When we started this RFP process, we had one hundred and forty two buildings across the city, that we managed totaling two million square feet.

Since then, we built in a couple new buildings, a brand new parking garage, and we have a brand new police building underway. Brings up to one hundred and forty four buildings to two point six million square feet.

Forty seven buildings with greenhouse gas burning equipment.

And in twenty twenty one, we're at five hundred and sixty five thousand annual therms of use.

So that is that small blue area on that chart we saw way back that there in the beginning of the presentation. That's where we're focusing these numbers on. We want to remove this five hundred sixty five thousand annual therms through electrification.

So you put on this r feet. Did you get a lot of bids on the project. It was there was just like one that was like, yeah, this sounds awesome. Or were there a lot of people? Because I'm sure whenever our fees out, I feel like there's always a lot of a lot of bids that come in.

Good question. Well, you know, personally when I ran to street resurfacing projects for years. Yes. You knew it was a good bid or good project. If you had a lot of submittals or or bid, bid, get submittals. Right?

So after a third evaluation, we decided to look and we had eight submittals. I was like, wow. I wasn't expecting that.

So How did you figure out which thing called? Yeah. How did you figure out to make the, you know, hey, of the eight, how did how did you whittle it down to one, so to speak?

You know, most agencies have an RFP requirement and grading requirements and you assign certain members of staff or stakeholders, stakeholders are involved again here.

To come in and score based off of preselected criteria on the projects. And we went through the list and we narrowed down three finalists who had to come in and give a hands on presentation to us in person. And then those three finalists were hand selected and narrowed down with additional scoring, and we ended up choosing bureau of riotous in the end. Yeah.


Wonderful. So Go out.

They do. They do the assessment. You know, you get this data back. And now, Let's talk about your infrastructure management system.

Right? So you get all this data. Right? Where is this data now gonna go, Myrto?

Explain this all to us. And I will say we are a brightly podcast or we are a brightly webinar here and having, you know, maintenance connection as the CMS Murdo and I joke about this, but, you know, I I said, Hey, look, man. This is this is meant for you to tell your story. And, you know, I understand that you're utilizing maintenance connection I and that personally, you know, whatever's working for you and helping your processes, that's great.

You know? Will say that Bradley does have their own asset management system, and as a Brytely webinar, I should make that note. But, you know, for all the work that you're doing, excited that you're able to get that within maintenance connection there. But unpack all of this for us and tell us why a CMMS, CIP, and GIS system, and housing all of this data is important.

Yeah. Thanks, Matt.

To me, thank you for allowing me to share these slides that who we're using. I I think it's important to know that there's not one fit all system here. And that all these systems can interact with each other in some way.

And some people may use one software company that provides all these lines of of software development for an agency or a city to use.

In our case, It just went in this, this order. We started using maintenance connection back in two thousand and nine just on our city buildings.

For facilities maintenance. And that really is the bulk of where my job was created in twenty sixteen as the infrastructure project manager.

And in there now, pretty every asset that we maintain and own in the right of way is also in there, where we're tracking costs, capital replacement, preventative maintenance costs, across these assets all the way across the board.

But it's only it there's no capital projection and maintenance connections, really for tracking costs that occur as they come along and they get stacked away and build ups. You can run reports on how much have we spent.

Where the brightly software comes in with predictor is it allows us to see thirty years into the future. How much money do we need to spend? How much money do we need to put side based off of inflationary, your local costs, some places cost more. So it allows us to project our capital cost planning.

We're maximizing remaining useful life cycles, decreasing our lower total cost of ownership of assets.

So to me, an infrastructure management system needs to involve all these things together.

And Everything here is a requirement of being an accredited agency through APWA.

You need to be able to have inventory which is basically done through maintenance connection. You need to have capital planning and planning investment, software or some sort of planning device. This is brightly. And then how do you map it out?

Well, we're gonna use Esri. We're slowly in the process of converting all of our existing GIS information line work and data points and metadata behind the, the Polygon and topology into Esri. So eventually we'd love to have all of these melded together. It's like the melting pot for the perfect infrastructure management system.

And Again, when we started talking, like, the going back to our original slides of what we believe here at Brightley with asset investment planning, that triangle at the base of that triangle is two major boxes to truly understand your total cost of owner ship. And leveraging software to help manage that is in, you know, your CMS and your CIP software. So the actual software for in your case is maintenance connection and and brightly. And so whatever that formula looks like, you know, every city, you know, just like all your building infrastructure actually have, you know, different, you know, different companies with different, you know, different assets inside in in them so to speak.

So I just Again, just really when we started talking, I thought I I love the fact that the more we unpacked your project and more we under pack unpacked is this aligns with this, this whole concept here. And this, I know we're coming close on time and This is the, I think, the most important slide for us today, and I apologize that we're gonna have to, not necessarily cut it short, but I think this is what a lot of cities and county struggle with is prioritization and communication to stakeholders. So you know, not to not to kind of steal your thunder here. But when when Myrto was talking to me, he had this one slide, and it was literally just if you look the bottom left here, it was these facilities with electrification difficulties.

And I think a lot of them, a lot of cities and counties probably have this exact same same challenge. And he's he's like, these are gonna be a problem for us. And I think that that's a sticky conversation that can be a little bit unsettling trying to communicate to stakeholders. And so go ahead and unpack this for us a little bit more if you don't mind, Myrto. And, you know, for those that have to jump, you know, apologize, we'll we'll kinda keep going here. But I definitely wanna we give the breath that, you know, this topic right here needs to needs to unpack.

Yeah. It's really important to know upfront from your in house staff in your in house crews.

In in this case, it came from members of our stakeholders group who have on hands knowledge of these facilities they know what kind of equipment is there. And so even though a facility condition assessment is typically a visual assessment of assets, In our case, we use ASTM uniform at two standards.

Using technology, like Brightley's predictor allows you to leverage for a better analysis and cost calculating by involving the information that in house crews and staff know only about that facility that someone couldn't know that knowledge from just simple visual assessment. So for example, when you do a visual assessment of a roof, you're just gonna calculate what type of roof it is. You're not gonna you can't see the structure underneath it. So only an in house crew would know, oh, we need to replace thirty percent of the structural support for this roof. So that's where you can leverage technology.

And you can put in customized cost for that building and for that roofing replacement. Or in this case, an electrification assessment, if you know the new electrified equipment There's no structural support in the roof or where it needs to be installed. You need to go in and create a custom scenario leverage the technology so your cost for that location of a new heat pump or electrified pieces of equipment Now the cost is not just the piece of equipment and the conduit and the circuit panel update, but now you have to put in specialized cost for how much structural additions do you need to make up that asset location?

So to me, that's really where the electrification can gain a better insight by leveraging technology through customizations within the software.

If it was on a piece of paper, we could say, oh, this boiler is gonna cost x, y, z dollars, but it doesn't take into account any of the known issues that are associated with that location.

And so in our case, we knew We had structural issues with placement of new assets. We knew we had buildings show the 1930s with poor energy efficiency.

Kind of leaks back to maybe a deep retrofit may have been better in some places. If you're gonna convert to electrification, maybe you should do electrical efficiency at the unit as well, the facility as well.

And if you electrify an entire building at one time?

Does the panel is the panel large enough to support electrification? You might even go one step above the panel is the switch gear to that facility or building location or campus sufficient enough. And you install a new transform route on the street, bring that power in to that facility.

And some of the buildings are older, and they might be close to functioning obsolete. Does it truly make sense to electrify those buildings, or are they up for replacement?

So the city is gonna have some really tough choices to make in the very near future.

Are we gonna electrify entire buildings at one time? Or we're gonna electrify one off assets based on remaining useful life. Thank you, Matt. That's basically all I got today. No. And I was gonna say, I think, you know, it goes back to challenge number five with project prioritization.

Right? And and communication to stakeholders of Hey, if we run this scenario where we electrophile all of the buildings, you know, building by building, this is what it's gonna cost us, this is what's gonna happen. If we decide to go and and do, you know, this scenario. Right?

So allowing giving the the communication, as you had mentioned, kind of, going up and, you know, as I was, you were saying, buying from leadership is equipping them, I think, with information. And as you, as you kinda said, there's these these choices aren't easy. Right? There's there's all these different ways that you can go about this, and it's hey, if we run this scenario, you know, what's gonna happen?

Is is this gonna break our budget? Is this gonna be something we can manage or not? And and vice versa, if we go this way, hey, maybe we can afford it, but, you know, maybe we don't have the resources to do this. Right?

So then we're gonna have to outsource something. You know what I mean? So it's it's thinking about things and it's presenting the information in a way in which your stakeholders and leadership and everybody will understand. And and that's why on this one slide, I thought it was just really powerful because I think every city deals with this.

It's like you have these handful of buildings that, for whatever reason, are gonna be a problem.

And the only way that you can, you know, essentially move forward with that problem is, you know, you're gonna have to be spending money on it and how much money and and if we do this, is it gonna cost us more? But, you know, that that useful life may may expand. Right? Or, hey, you know, we're throwing useful life out the window on two of these buildings, but we're gonna keep it for three of them. What's that gonna cost us? What's that gonna look like? And playing those kind of what if scenarios.

And and I it's just I'm really excited, and and thank you so much, Myrtle, for sharing. Some takeaways.

You know, sustainable asset, investment planning, you know, design principles, stakeholder buying at the beginning of the project is key. You know, focus on what's feasible, you know, prioritize what's within the city's control lead by example.

Right? Hey. You know, we did city owned buildings for this project that's what's in your control and you are leading by example to hope that other other divisions, you know, residential, commercial, whatever are gonna follow. Right?

You know, specify near term goals, costs, keeping up with long term goals, you know, as an aspiration. Hey, you know, part of this project thirty years. We wanted to identify this for thirty years. But, hey, near term goals, what's this gonna cost us by twenty thirty? Right?

You know, considered, you know, total cost of accounting. You know, as you had mentioned, replacing the roof is gonna this, but replacing the structure is gonna be an additional cost.

You know, aligning these incentives to encourage desired outcomes, and discourage undesirable ones.

And, you know, implement flexible platforms you know, and, so you can expand, you know, future capacity.

You know, in conclusion, I think we just kinda walk through it, but, you know, climbing change as an impact that's driving, you know, asset management. That's why we're here. You're not gonna necessarily read all of these, but storytelling as a predictive analytics helps engage those decision makers coming with a plan and being able to explain said plan, it got you this project of Greenlet. It got it funded by multiple different stakeholders. Multiple different divisions. And now it's giving you the data and the analytics to provide more insights so you can make better better decisions, you know, for the city of Palo Alto.


I know we're four minutes over. So sorry everybody.

You know, any questions that you might have? You know, I know if you need to jump, if you need to run, totally understand that. Again, you'll get a recording of this.

Yeah. There is one question.

Yeah. What how does the, you know, define carbon neutral? I think we we kinda sort of tackled that with the this slide.

I'll just say, Lori, why don't you reach out to me? I mean, our offices are five minutes apart. I can definitely put you in contact with the sustainability director. Who could provide you in detail information about our how we define carbon neutral.

I don't want to step on anyone's toes or get it wrong. Yeah. Yeah. And, Ory, I'm happy to also make that introduction as, there are also clients.

But, I think we've gone over. So I don't wanna keep us here, but, wanna thank Myrto again. Thank everybody for attending.

And, I guess, have a great rest of your, your Tuesday.

Thank you. Have a good day.