Articles - January, 2007

Skyscraper Sunday: LEED Silver One Victory Park

One Victory Park

Taking a page from local developer Harwood, it looks like Hillwood decided to throw its hat into the green development ring with One Victory Park.  1VP is a 20-story, 450,000 square-foot, LEED-Silver office building slated for completion in 2008.  I’ve read a few conflicting reports on the actual details of the building, so we’ll have to watch and really determine the true specs.  Hines + Hillwood will be co-developing the project, which includes a Two Victory Park that seems identical to 1VP.  Boka Powell is the lead architect with Austin Commercial as the general contractor.   

1VP already has a tenant for six floors of the building.  Haynes and Boone recently announced that it would relocate from the Bank of America tower (tenant of 22 years), retaining Gensler as the interior design architect.  A recent news article pointed to suggestions that all the offices would be the same size, meaning senior and junior attorneys would be indistinguishable according to office size.  Why?  Efficiency and money savings.  Use your imagination on this one.  Image via

Noteworthy Green News: Week in Review

Week in Review
  1. Massachusetts Power Plants to Pay Emissions Penalties: State Rejoins a Northeast Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Massachusetts power plant owners will have to pay a penalty for every pound of emissions that contribute to global warming under an agreement signed by Governor Deval Patrick yesterday that is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for an ambitious energy conservation and renewable energy program.
  2. Green Schools the Hottest Market for Green Building According to McGraw-Hill Construction’s Latest Report – MHC found that the education sector is the fastest-growing market for green building, good news for the industry, given that education construction (at the K-12 and university levels) is the largest construction sector, by value, at $53 billion for 2007.
  3. Wind Farm Building Boom to Continue in 2007: Wind Power Capacity in the U.S. Grew 27% Last Year – The U.S. now has enough installed wind power capacity (11,603 megawatts) to power between 3 million and 3.5 million homes, which reduces annual greenhouse gas emissions by 23 million tons of carbon dioxide. The number of homes relying on electricity produced by wind energy will rise to nearly 4.5 million by year’s end if the AWEA’s forecast is accurate.
  4. The U.S. Climate Action Partnership: Big Businesses and Eco-Advantage – The companies in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership are Alcoa, BP America, DuPont, Caterpillar, General Electric, Duke Energy, Lehman Brothers, PG&E, PNM Resources and FPL.  These big businesses have a goal help the U.S. create public policy that would act aggressively and sustainably to slow, stop, and reverse the growth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  See also NRDC

Clarification Please! Is Green Building More Expensive or Not?

20_dollar_bill

Recently, I attended a guest lecture by a seasoned real estate developer, and he was talking about the profitability of his projects.  This speaker has major experience will all types of investments including retail, single family, industrial, condo, etc.  I put him on the spot and asked him about the numbers he’s seen on sustainable developments.  His answer:  "They’re expensive, a break-even proposition at best.  Development is going that direction, but not now.  They’re not cheap, at all.  We’re talking 20, 30, 40% more expensive.  I won’t do them."  I was blown away. 

In stark contrast, on Monday, January 22, Rick Fedrizzi, CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council, said to the Miami Herald, "We are now at the point where you can build to LEED standards and it is not one penny more than conventional buildings.  We are more experienced now.  We have a proliferation of green building products and services."  From this perspective, it’s profitable and financially responsible to be environmental and build green. 

Someone’s wrong, who is it?

When I hear Fedrizzi’s statement, I’m led to believe that he’s accounting for construction on a first costs basis (not including the operational savings).  And I think he is.  He’s saying it costs the same to build green as non-green, on a first costs basis.  I mentioned the obstacles to building green recently, so is this a case where the developer was unaware?  What’s the deal?  I’m interested in hearing some real world discussion here. 

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