Articles - June, 2007

REITs Going Greener, Consumers Priced Out of Green Products, Greener Hotels, and Eco-friendly Home Costing (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Real estate industry quietly embracing green development, with 41% of U.S. REITs actively pursuing energy efficiency and green building upgrades. 
  2. Business leaders aver that even though companies are greening products of all kinds, buyers are unwilling to pay a green premium (ed. note = consumers probably think the premium is unjustifiably exorbitant, even with the green components). 
  3. Enjoy your green stay: hotels are rolling out all sorts of green programs, in part because customers demand them, and in part because they save money. 
  4. The eco-friendly house (and renovation) has gone mainstream, but is it really worth the cost? 

Group 41, "CONTAIN Your Enthusiasm"

Hybrid_seattle

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about container architecture, but there’s a good reason to do it today because I’ve received a tip on Joel Karr and Group 41.  This San Francisco-based architecture firm is issuing a innovative project challenge.  Here’s how it works:

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Ramifications: GE Real Estate Moving to New, Potentially LEED-CI Headquarters

GE Real Estate

You may not think this news is all that sexy, but it’s a pretty big deal.  GE Real Estate is an enormous source of capital funding for commercial properties.  To get an idea of what we’re talking about, here are the figures:  their portfolio is weighted heavier in equity investments at 54% with the other 46% in debt investments; the average investment size is roughly $6.5 million; in 2006, GE RE closed $29 billion in real estate transactions; GE RE has $59 billion in total assets.  Long story short, GE Real Estate is a star player in the real estate lending game, and since they invest more on the equity side (and equity investments are smaller than debt investments), they work with tons of customers.

So starting June 25, 2007, GE Real Estate will operate from its new headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut, at 901 Main Avenue.  901 Main Avenue is a class A+ property and it’s not inherently green.  BUT, GE RE has registered with the USGBC to go green on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors under the LEED-CI (Commercial Interiors) certification system.  LEED Registration is not a guarantee of anything, the project still must be certified upon completion. 

Here’s my take: 
When GE RE is done greening the interiors, people are going to start talking about it.  Employees will like the green building.  The financial benefits of the green building will stand out.  And all those people working inside will start to ask developers why they aren’t pursuing LEED certification, if they aren’t going green.  Now capital is abundant, so this talk will be nothing more than a mere ‘suggestion,’ but eventually, developers will listen and there will be a trickle down.  I’m calling it right now.  GE RE is going to ‘sneeze’ green on their customers and we’re going to see a major ‘tipping point’ in the real estate development industry.  Anyone agree?

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