Dec 11, 2023

5 questions: ClimateCheck CTO Sam Eckhouse

Data | by Alexandra Jones, Contributing Writer | 1 Minutes

ClimateCheck CTO Sam Eckhouse is a technology strategist focused on high performance computing, private, and public cloud. With nearly two decades of experience working in the data management and cloud computing space, including sales and management roles, Eckhouse brings a combination of technical and business expertise to ClimateCheck’s mission to make climate risk transparent for anyone with a stake in real estate — whether they be homeowners, equity investors, lenders, environmental consultants, real estate listing portals or others who need to assess physical risks to property.

1. ClimateCheck: What do you do as the CTO of ClimateCheck?

ClimateCheck CTO Sam Eckhouse: I oversee the data science and infrastructure that’s necessary to investigate the impact of climate change on real estate. My focus is on leveraging high-performance computing, big data, and public cloud technologies to analyze and rate risk to real estate based on projected global warming scenarios. We assess property, regional, and portfolio exposure to hazards like wildfire, flood, wind, heat, hurricane, storm, and drought for our clients. I patented our climate-based risk rating technology and work with our team of leading analysts to continually improve our product and client experience.

2. ClimateCheck: How do you interact with ClimateCheck’s clients?

Eckhouse: I ensure our clients can easily integrate ClimateCheck data without overhauling their current systems. We offer data through APIs, portfolio matching, bulk transfers, and ad-hoc queries to seamlessly fit into our clients' existing workflows. By understanding their specific needs and systems, we find the easiest solution that works with what they already have in place. Our focus on user-friendly experiences and instant access to our products is a key reason clients enjoy partnering with us. We prioritize simplicity and minimal disruption for our customers, so they don't have to learn new technologies or alter their processes to benefit from our services.

3. ClimateCheck: How did you end up working in the climate risk data space?

Eckhouse: My path to climate risk data started with a computer science degree from UC Santa Cruz and over 15 years implementing and selling cloud computing and data management products. I worked with some of the national labs and universities crunching the data to develop the global climate models that we now use in our product offering. I realized that this information isn’t widely available to the public, or anyone without deep pockets and a degree in data science. To address this, ClimateCheck CEO Cal Inman and I launched the company in 2019 with the mission of making climate risk information accessible and affordable to all. We're committed to equipping the real estate sector with the data necessary for prudent decision-making in an era where climate considerations are paramount. Our aim is not just to provide data but to render complex climate analytics into actionable insights for industry professionals at every level, thereby aiding in the navigation of climate-related challenges.

4. ClimateCheck: What is your favorite thing about your work at ClimateCheck?

Eckhouse: I love the problem-solving aspects of my work at ClimateCheck. Developing innovative solutions to assess climate risks is both challenging and rewarding. I'm proud to be part of a team that’s advancing due diligence tools for our clients while contributing positively to the global conversation around climate change. Our product deals with climate risk to the built environment, and by extension we deal with the economic and regulatory forces that are shaping how we’ll face this challenge in the years to come.

5. ClimateCheck: Why do investors and enterprises in the real estate space need to stay on top of climate risk?

Eckhouse: Climate risk should matter to our clients because it directly affects the long-term value and sustainability of real estate investments. Responsible investing requires a thorough understanding of all potential risks, including climate. You can have a rock-solid deal in place, but if you don’t consider how climate hazards might affect your property or portfolio, you don’t have a full picture of a property’s value and risk. Are you about to build or acquire a healthcare facility in an area at growing risk of major flooding? Or are you buying an apartment building in a region where extreme heat days are going to triple in the next 20 years, driving up energy costs and accelerating maintenance costs? Climate change is impacting extreme weather hazards everywhere, and only when you know the risks can you mitigate and make other smart decisions to ensure your portfolio is balanced. Our platform empowers clients with the data they need to make the best and most informed decisions for their bottom line.

Looking to incorporate climate into your risk assessments?