- 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.
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.
As you all know, Carnival of the Green is basically a carnival of blog posts that gets passed around from one green site to another. Posting happens on Mondays. Treehugger graciously supports the endeavor, so pop on over there if you’re interested in hosting a carnival or submitting an article (carnivalofgreen [at] gmail dot com). Last week, Carnival #61 was at Clay & Wattles, and next week, Carnival #63 will be at Nonoscience.
That said, I received a ton of articles and commentary, a virtual smattering of diverse topics, so go ahead and check ’em out. Here we go in no particular order:
- Greening the Green Festival (Video = 5:53 min.) – by Melissa Mansfield + Averan Gale at LAGreenLiving.
- What’s Next for Nature? Innovation and a Few Ads – by Victoria E at Victoria E.
- Eco-Fashion Q&A: Denim Repair and Cheap Style – by Victoria E at GroovyGreen.
- Geologists Find Strong Evidence of Climate Change – by Barbara Feiner at OrganicAuthority.com.
- Ecological Decline "A Greater Threat than International Terrorism": The Challenge for Business – by Leon Gettler at Sox First.
- Living with Ed Makes Fun of Environmentalists and Should be Cancelled – by David at The Good Human.
- Beyond the Green Corporation – by Rich at Queercents.
- Beware of Greenwashing at the Grocery – by Micaela at Mindful Momma.
- It’s Time Again for Nuclear (with 150 coal plants on the drawing board)! – by Jake Kearns at Real Green Tips.
- Birth of an Advocate: From Sports Cars to Hybrids – by Beo at GroovyGreen.
- Barenaked Ladies Look After Their Mother + ‘Firefighter’ Blows Smokescreen at Fire Retardant Legislation – by Matthew Fried at Enviroblog.
- Weiners & Burgers Heating the Planet More than Cars – by Sally Kneidel at Veggie Revolution.
- Harvesting Justice (marginalization & health risks of farm workers) – by Harlan Weikle (Editor of Greener Magazine) at Veggie Revolution.
- Fresh Water Tanganyika – by Greener News Room at Greener Magazine.
- Envirolet Composting Toilet in Stage Production of "The War Next Door" – by Scott Smith at Envirolet Buzz.
- State of the (Green) Union – by Don Bosch at The Evangelical Ecologist.
- Tear Up CRP Ground and Contracts for Ethanol? + Now It’s the Ethanol Surge – by Ken Cook at Mulchblog.
- Illegal Coffee Growing Threatens Wildlife, Kraft Major Buyer + Follow Up: Nestle & Starbucks Respond to Illegal Coffee Report by The Bird Barista at Coffee and Conservation.
- Keeping Wildlife Coverage Wild, Engaging – by Jeremy Bruno at The Voltage Gate.
- Professor Quippy: Climate Change Scientists Get Angry – by Mark A. Rayner at The Skwib.
- High Anxiety: Thoughts on the Sustainability of High-Rise Developments – by Roger Butterfield at Words and Pictures.
- Green is Making Me See Red (L-O-N-G) – by Wenchypoo at Wisdom From Wenchypoo’s Mental Wastebasket.
- Top Socially Responsible Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Firms – by H.S. Ayoub at BioHealth Investor.
- Jim Webb: Is a Star Born? – by Rey Thomas at The Thomas Political Report.
- Patching Holey Clothes – by Kevin Surbaugh at Becoming & Staying Debt Free.
That’s about 28 articles, so this should be enough to keep you busy for the next week. Thanks for letting me participate Treehugger!!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
"If people have done any math, they will understand how valuable the green agenda is economically, and that if they don’t adopt it, they are probably not intelligent fiduciaries as developers or owners." – William McDonough, FAIA, Co-Author Cradle to Cradle, Time "Hero for the Planet," + Founding Principal of William McDonough + Partners