- U.S. Homebuyers Will Pay Premium For Green Homes – More than half of homebuilders surveyed report that buyers are willing to pay a premium of between 11-25 percent for green-built homes. The same builders report that the average green homebuyer is between the ages of 35-50 with a college degree and fair understanding of green products.
- CBS RADIO Launches its First ‘Green’ Focused Radio Station – CBS RADIO announced the launch of 94.7 The Globe, its first "green" focused radio station. The Washington D.C. station will operate using renewable energy to power its 50,000 watt signal. This move will contribute to lowering the threat of global warming through the purchase of energy resources generated by wind. Additionally, station vehicles will be replaced with hybrid models. See also 94.7 The Globe.
- Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott Unveils ‘Sustainability 360′ – President and CEO Lee Scott today unveiled "Sustainability 360" — a company-wide emphasis on taking sustainability beyond reducing the company’s direct environmental footprint to engaging Wal-Mart’s associates, suppliers, communities and customers. Scott also announced the company’s intention to introduce "Global Innovation Projects" — one of which is a challenge for Wal-Mart associates and suppliers to start thinking about how to remove non-renewable energy from the products the company sells.
The February/ March 2007 edition of Plenty Magazine has a really good article called "The Plenty 20" by Danielle Wood. You won’t find it online, so go pick up a copy. Generally speaking, magazine lists have a tendency to be contrived, opinionated, and/or incomplete, but I thought The Plenty 20 was rather thorough. The article profiled an Ohio-based company called Fiberstars (NASDAQ: FBST). The U.S. government funded the research that became Fiberstars’ Efficient Fiber Optic Technology (EFO) with grants totaling about $13 million. Now, its lights illuminate the Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta.
How efficient are EFO lights? Their efficiency is analogous to improving gas mileage in your car from 12 MPG to 50 MPG. That’s efficient. So efficient, these lights were used in the green Bill Clinton Presidential Library.
EFO lights do not emit heat or ultraviolet rays, so they are perfect for museum or archival applications. One 70-watt metal halide lamp, which connects to a fiber optic system, can equal the output of eight 50 watt bulbs. Specifically in terms of efficiency, the EFO saves up to 80% on energy consumption, saves on maintenance (requires less work due to longer life), and saves one watt of HVAC for every three watts of lighting because the EFOs do not emit heat. Not bad. Further, Fiberstars EFO may reduce mercury emissions by up to 75% and their Reuse-Recycle Program allows customers to reuse 97% of the lamp and recycle the rest. Currently, most of Fiberstars’ customers are commercial entities such as Whole Foods, McDonalds, Trump Tower, Starbucks, Nordstrom’s, Chevron, etc. Maybe we’re not that far from turn-key consumer applications?
Here are some of the other companies on The Plenty 20: Nanosolar, ECD Ovonics, Greenfuel Technologies, Envirofit International, GE, Organic Valley, Tesla Motors, Southwest Windpower, Domini, Toyota, Whole Foods, Green Mountain Energy, Konarka, Goldman Sachs, Ormat Technologies, Ice Energy, Green Sandwich Technologies, Green Mountain Coffee, and Naturalawn.
Here’s the situation. You have two new 15-story buildings in a good location near downtown. Both buildings have received several inquiries from potential tenants. Building #1 is a traditionally-built, modern facility. Building #2 is similar, but it’s green (LEED-CS + LEED-CI). A lease for 40,000 square feet of space at #1 is $35 and #2 is $36.50 per square feet. Would you pay the extra $1.50 per square foot to lease space in the green building? We’re talking about a serious premium. I’m interested to hear what your perspective is on this.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, these rents are justifiable for a few reasons. I’m going to clip out a few comments from their article, but feel free to read the entire thing.
- Organizations with business models reflecting sustainability will be more likely to pay the premium.
- Although green buildings are going up at an incredible rate, most of these are for use by the owners and most developers view speculative green developments as risky.
- There is a dearth of tenable green lease space and requests for green space are falling on deaf ears.
- The market is tenant driven right now and tenants have had success cooperating with owners to make green improvements or renovations.
I think there will be a paradigm shift, but I don’t know how it will happen. Somehow, the values of individuals and organizations need to shift towards an appreciation of sustainability, and that will create serious, mainstream adoption of green buildings. Maybe the impetus will be regulatory? Self-imposed? Strategic? I learned in Starting a Business 101, that some of the best opportunities in business become available due to a void or an absence in the market. If it’s true that some customers and tenants are requesting green space, but the inventory isn’t available, there’s a void in the market that will be filled by the first innovators. The rest will wake up some day and think, "I thought green buildings were for hippies?! What’s going on?" Which is partially an answer to my post the other day. Via Appraisal Podcasts.