Articles - July, 2007

The Greenest Home in San Francisco – Clipper House by LORAX Development

The Greenest Home in San Francisco - The Clipper House

I read an excellent article about San Francisco’s Clipper House by LORAX Development in Solar Today magazine and wanted to share some info about it.  The Clipper House has become a showcase for residential sustainable features, basically showing off everything but the financial case for green building.  The 2,600 sf home was designed by John Maniscalco/Architecture, Inc., and was completed in the summer of 2006.  For a cool $1.9 M, you could probably purchase this incredible home–often referred to as the Greenest Home in San Francisco. 

If you do, here’s what you’re going to get:  1.7 kw DC photovoltaic array with BP Solar panels installed by SolarCity (total cost $16,700, net AR $11,543); 64 sf of solar thermal glazed collectors by Heliodyne ($6,750); warmboard radiant heating system using PEX tubing ($50,000); rainwater-catchment system by Wonderwater Inc. ($25,000); hemp carpets colored with vegetable dyes; low-VOC paints and caulks throughout; energy-efficient windows and doors; hardwood floors made from 100-yr-old TerraMai railroad ties from Southeast Asia; FSC-certified kitchen cabinets; Richlite kitchen counters made from recycled paper products; recycled blue jean insulation by Bonded Logic; 50-year warranty James Hardie fiber-cement siding made partially with fly ash; and recycled plastic and wood Trex composite decking.  The Clipper House certainly prioritizes energy-efficiency, properly sourced sustainable materials, and indoor air quality.  Real nice. 

Good Links:
++Pushing Boundaries, Advancing a Market [Solar Today]
++520 Clipper in Noe Valley: Smart, Green, Luxe [LORAX - PDF]
++Clipper Street Green Home Facts & Images [LORAX]

Finding Equity Partners + Green Development

Green Equity Partners

UPDATE: 4/27/08 – the market has changed substantially since writing this article and some of the green funds I was in touch with are no longer looking for deals. 

Hey green developers, I’m not sure what stage of planning you’re in and whether you’ve completely figured out your capital stack, but I have some information that may be of assistance in finding a good equity partner.  Feel free to shoot me an email at jetsongreen at yahoo.com, and I can get back to you.  In your email, let me know the company you’re with and some quick details about the green project you are planning.  I may be able to help developers with the following general characteristics:

  • Experienced developer of LEED or other third-party green certified real estate assets;
  • A reputation for quality and excellence in development;
  • Track record of handling projects averaging $50-$75M or more;
  • Looking for equity financing for a green development in any real estate product type.

I’m not promising anything, I’m just saying, depending on your situation, I may have information on a good source for equity capital from people that know green development. 

Interview with Practical Environmentalist

Practical Environmentalist

Practical Environmentalist posted an interview with me, and I thought I would send a note of appreciation.  I like Practical Environmentalist (especially their list of 21 Practical Ways to Help the Environment) and appreciate what they do.  They have a new building and are working on a super green renovation.  One of its writers, Kent Swanson, wrote a popular article for us called 11 Suggestions for an Eco-Friendly Landscape.  That’s a good article.  Thanks, PE!

SolTerra, MKD Green Townhouse Development

MKD Townhouses

Not only is Michelle Kaufmann Designs (MKD) taking the green prefab world by storm, but it looks like MKD is working with Communities by Design to build a 26-unit, green townhouse development.  Nice.  The two- and three-bedroom, two-story units will have covered parking, private and shared outdoor gardens, high quality finishes and fixtures, sustainable materials and systems, high-performance insulation, and solar panel systems.  The townhouse development will be located somewhere in San Leandro, CA, and should be opening in late 2007. 

Good Links:
++MKD + SketchUp + Google Earth Mashup [JG]
++MKD Sunset Breezehouse + mkSolaire [JG]

Eleven Times Square (S2)

11 Times Square Eleven Times Square

Eleven Times Square is planned to be one of the next green buildings in NYC at 8th Avenue and 42nd Street.  The 1.1 million sf speculative office space, with two floors of retail, will be finished in 2009.  Also, if everything goes as planned, 11 Times Square will be certified to the LEED Silver level by the USGBC.  While it’s still early, apparently the 40-story tower is two months ahead of schedule (but there’s still 2 more years to get behind schedule).  The tower was designed by FXFOWLE Architects, and specific details of green elements are kind of hard to come by.  We’ll keep an eye on it and pass on more details as the specifics come available. 

Good Links:
++Eleven Times Square [Official Website]
++11 Times Square Starts Spec Construction [Globe St.]

::"S2" is short for "Skyscraper Sunday," a weekly article on green skyscrapers posted every Sunday::

Sprawl Movies: The Unforeseen + Radiant City

Stories about sprawl are pretty compelling.  With sprawl, on the one hand, you have unrestrained capitalism and the chase for economic distinction, and on the other hand, you have depleted community resources, mediocre homes, and limited city resources.  Tough issues to deal with on both sides.  Here’s the gist on two, new sprawl movies:

  1. The Unforeseen – Official Selection of the Sundance Film Festival 2007, this is documentary about a development near Barton Springs in Austin, Texas.  Apparently, the story is told evenly from all sides and somewhere in the middle, the developer gets a little help from the future Governor George Bush. 
  2. Radiant City: A Documentary About Suburban Sprawl – there’s a trailer for this one above.  Garage-centric homes, side-by-side, with no community feel whatsoever.  Apparently this film is comedic and tugs at the problems of sprawl in a unique way. 

I haven’t seen either (other than trailers), but I look forward to seeing them when they come around. 

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