I wasn’t able to find building images or renderings, but in noteworthy news, The Weather Channel recently announced plans to seek LEED Silver certification for its new, 12,500 sf HD studio. According to Debora Wilson, president of The Weather Channel, "Constructing a new facility in a way that is environmentally responsible sends a strong message about our commitment to helping people learn more about the issues that the public faces in regards to the environment. We are extending our ongoing mission of keeping our viewers informed and safe during severe weather to a similar role in regards to matters of safety and well-being for life on this planet." The Weather Channel’s green building plans coincide with an overall corporate goal to be more environmentally conscious and some planned features include energy efficient lighting, low-VOC paints and sealants, and water saving fixtures and plumbing. Completion is expected by February 2008.
Environmentalism is all the rage right now, isn’t it? It’s good, but we need to sift through some of the noise and clearly identify correct information. With respect to the costs of green building, depending on who you talk to, it’s possible to get conflicting information. To prove this point, try to survey a couple real estate pros (informally, of course) and you may be surprised by what you hear. When I’m around seasoned real estate pros, I make it point to ask them what they think about green building. The information is rarely consistent. Below, we have three legitimate reports seeking to clarify the discussion on green building costs. These reports are free, and by all means, email this post around to your real estate professional friends. Let’s make this information viral. Let’s get past any misunderstandings and start building better, more efficient buildings.
- Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Business Realities and Opportunities, Summary Report, World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Although focusing more on energy efficiency in buildings (as opposed to the entire environmental picture of a building), this report found, among other things, that the costs of green building are often misunderstood, and even overestimated by as much as 300%.
- Cost of Green Revisited: Reexamining the Feasibility and Cost Impact of Sustainable Design in the Light of Increased Market Adoption, Davis Langdon. Using the USGBC’s LEED system as a parameter, this report found that there is no significant difference in average costs for green buildings as compared to non-green buildings.
- Green Buildings and the Bottom Line: The ‘New Reality’ of Green Building, From Environmental Cause to Financial Opportunity, Building Design + Construction. Assessing all the different product types individually, this white paper discusses the costs and benefits of green buildings and presents a 10-point action plan for consideration by all the green building stakeholders.
I think we’re at the point where the information will start to take hold and green building practices will spread. It will gather such momentum that all the players in the real estate world, whether lenders, investors, contractors, engineers, architects, lawyers, owners, or developers, will have a seat at the table and will push for smarter, greener decisions.
Today, it was announced that Steve Wozniak, ‘The Woz‘, will be speaking at West Coast Green on Thursday, September 20. On the same day, he will be joined by Bob Berkebile, a 30 year veteran of environmental innovation, and Sarah Susanka, the author of the well-known book The Not So Big House. Then on Friday, Ray Anderson, CEO/Chairman of Interface Inc. and author of Mid-Course Correction, will speak. He will be joined by Erin Brokovich. And on the last day of the event, Ed Begeley Jr. will speak. Attendees of West Coast Green also will be able to hear from Ed Mazria, Hunter Lovins, and Mayor Gavin Newsome, to name a few notables.
Because Jetson Green is a partner with West Coast Green, those that want to attend can have a 20% discount on your full conference registration. Please enter the following promotional code when registering to receive discount: jg3554. Register at West Coast Green or call 1-800-724-4880.
Jefferson Green, not to be confused with Jetson Green, is one of only twelve LEED-CS Gold buildings in the country. It’s also the first Gold commercial building and the largest and most energy-efficient LEED building in New Mexico. AND it’s expected to be the first commercial building in New Mexico to certify under LEED-CI (this one Gold, too). That’s a double Gold. The three-story, 85,000 sf spec office building uses 30% less water and 45% less energy than the average local office building. Designed by Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, Jefferson Green is a model for commercial buildings of the future. The design called for some of the following features: underfloor air system, operable windows, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, xeric landscaping, low-VOC interior materials and applicants, IceStone countertops, Armstrong Dune ceiling tile, 3Form resin, and Forbo Marmoleum flooring. The building received all the possible LEED points in the Indoor Environmental Quality category and almost all the possible points in the Water Efficiency category. Nice work.
Exploring issues of sustainability and energy efficiency, the TrailerWrap Project aims to provide simple, affordable solutions to improve conditions in mass-produced, low-cost mobile homes. Mobile homes are a prolific form of living, and important one, but they can be inefficient, ugly, and uncomfortable to live in. So the University of Colorado at Denver College of Architecture cooked up sketches and prototypes, a kit to transform the common mobile home. And now, that process is complete and they have the first actual TrailerWrap home. I’m completely blown away by the results.
The Skystream here cost about $13k (including installation) and is intended to provide roughly 30-70% of the home’s energy, depending on weather conditions. The video is interesting in that it shows the community reaction to the turbine: they love it. Skystream turbines are good for places that have more than 1/2 acre of land and zoning that allows structures more than 42 feet tall. Experts say the system should pay for itself over time, even without Michigan incentives. Also visit the Skystream website.