I’d like to take a quick sec to invite you to join us at West Coast Green 2008. This will mark our 2nd year as a premiere Media Partner with what has now grown to be the world’s largest conference & expo on green innovation and green building! This year’s event has a whole new look and a brand new location in the heart of Silicon Valley. The event takes place on September 25-27, 2008 at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California.
In an innovative move, the Town of Babylon has set up an extensive program to work with citizens to pay for energy efficiency upgrades for every home in the town. The basic premise of the program is that the town wants to help residents use less energy, so here’s what they plan to do. They’re going to loan up to $12,000 at the super low interest rate of 3% to pay directly for renovation costs. Under the program, residents get home energy audits that include recommended actions for renovations, including adding more insulation, changing out the HVAC system, etc. The town pays for the renovations and the homeowner then makes payments to the town based roughly on the reduction in payments caused by having a more efficient home. So it’s quite the innovative system.
You may have noticed an article by Alex Williams in the NY Times yesterday entitled "The Era of Green Noise." The article hits on some trends we're seeing, especially in the green lifestyle area, with people worn out by the green barrage of choices and information. Green advertising and/or pitches might get a roll of the eyes, or worse, some backlash. People may just repel and fight against the message. So businesses are starting to get concerned about the proper way to move forward given this "green fatigue" from the "green noise."
I've been thinking about this and have a few suggestions for businesses that want to keep a quality connection to their customers.
You might be thinking, "Why is this green building blog talking about a car company?" But don’t, because the relationship between home, work, transportation, and all that is quite complex. Yesterday, news on Toyota’s plug-in hybrid technology spread across the internet at a fairly quick clip — it’s important news that will affect us in more ways than the price paid at the pump. According to Autoblog Green, Toyota announced it would produce a plug-in hybrid with lithium-ion batteries starting in 2010, with large scale production into 2011-2012. This is good news, but here’s why plug-in electric vehicles matter for the future of green buildings:
In a newly released working paper by John Quigley, Piet Eichholtz, and Nils Kok titled Doing Well by Doing Good? Green Office Buildings, the authors discuss the economic value of green building certification in the commercial sector. They matched publicly available information on 694 certified green buildings (Energy Star and LEED) with 7489 other office buildings located within a quarter mile of the certified green buildings. The research revealed systematic evidence that rents for green buildings are about 2% higher than rents for comparable buildings located nearby. Effective rents, or those adjusted for the occupancy levels in the building, are about 6% higher in green buildings than in comparable office buildings nearby. The authors deduce therefrom that at a generalized cap rate of 6%, conversion of a non-green building to an equivalent green building would add more than $5 million in market value. Wow!