Ian Tierney - Sustainability Lead at KYA Design Group

Ian Tierney - Sustainability Lead at KYA Design Group

As Sustainability Lead at KYA Design Group, Ian Tierney is working to change the way Hawaii develops by incorporating sustainability principles into projects and actively volunteering on the USGBC Hawaii Market Leadership Advisory Board. Ian has worked on numerous sustainability projects across Hawaii including the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport Sustainable Management Plan, the University of Hawaii West Oahu Admin and Allied Health Facility, and the Kamehameha Schools Sustainability Benchmarking Initiative.

Ian Tierney Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Energy benchmarking in buildings

  • Managing and selling LEED certification projects

  • Sustainability initiatives throughout Hawaii

  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Ian's Final Five Responses:

What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

I would say look into Mark Jewel. He is a best selling author and his classes on selling energy efficiency really taught me a lot about why people buy specifically into ideas and energy efficiency projects. And he provided me with the tools to do financial analysis and business acumen to communicate to business people in the c-suite. And then he also provides support and blog posts daily to keep my saw sharpen.

What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

I'm probably most excited to be living in Hawaii in this time with all the sustainability goals that the government has set and also seeing it carry over into the big industries here, tourism, construction, military. The goal for 100 percent clean energy by 2045, it's bringing a lot of investment to the state infrastructure and then the Rockefeller Foundation funded the Honolulu Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency and it's really off to a great start in it's first year, and I just went to a presentation by them the other day and they're collecting so much good information to really inform decision makers about what the public thinks should be the number one and number two and number three priorities to address climate change, sustainability and resiliency. And I don't think anyone's really done that in the way that they have. So that's what I'm super stoked on right now.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I think Abundance by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. I recently read it and it kind of flipped the way that I think. It's very easy to think that it's all doom and gloom and sea-level rise and blah blah, blah and the negative thoughts are very easy to creep in when you're working in sustainability. But Abundance is all about the technologies that are on the way and poised for exponential growth, and for the costs to come down. I'd really appreciate it if everyone read that book because I think it would change the outlook that people have on the future of the world.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

For me it's been networking. So I believe that your network is your net worth. I don't know where I heard that from, but to joining associations like the US Green Building Council Hawaii, the AIA Boma, the University of Hawaii Alumni Network has really allowed me to make connections with people inside and outside of my industry, and that's really helped elevate me to achieve what I previously thought I couldn't achieve.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you are leading at KYA?

We're pretty humble. We don't really like to talk too much about what we do. We kind of just like to do and then people can obviously find out on our website if they want to. You can check me out on Linkedin. Just check out what the US Green Building Council Hawaii chapter is doing. I am on the board of directors for that. I think that's probably more exciting for me is the kind of movement that I'm a part of, not necessarily my own individual or company achievements.