Smart Growth, Valuable Green Ideas, Energy Efficiency Investments + Affordable Green Developments (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Boston suburbs urged to adhere to smart growth principles or face the loss of open space and dwindling water resources. 
  2. There’s money to be made in green ideas; the business landscaped has changed from risk management to chasing revenue growth opportunities. 
  3. Businesses are investing in energy efficient measures for the main purpose of decreasing rising energy costs. 
  4. Enterprise Green Communities continues support for green buildings by handing out four grants of $70,000 to Los Angeles-based affordable housing developers. 

MiniHome: Ultimate Sustainable Mobility

Sustain Minihome

This is the Sustain Minihome, a green, urban RV for the modern-day recreationists.  When you see this, you won’t believe how much functionality and comfort can go into a mere 325 sf.  To get the real feel of it, go check out the HGTV video of Andy Thomson’s miniHome (the designer).  Nice.  I’m pretty sure this is going on the Christmas wish list.

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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]

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