Earlier this week, GM announced that they were adding the world’s largest, rooftop, solar photovoltaic power installation to its car assembly plant located in Zaragoza, Spain (a factory that manufactures Opel vehicles for sale in Europe). When the project is completed in the fall of 2008, the solar installation will have 85,000 solar panels covering about 2,000,000 sf of roof space. Bloomberg further reports that the $78.5 million installation will avoid about 7k tons of emissions per year.
It looks like the nation’s first provider of green insurance coverage for the commercial sector has decided to expand that coverage into the residential sector. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company will be offering green coverage to homeowners who either own a green home or who want to upgrade their home with green features in the event of a loss. So in a loss situation, the homeowners can rebuild their home and have it certified under the LEED system.
Homeowners with green homes will be offered a five percent discount on their insurance premium. In addition, homeowners will be able to rebuild and replace as follows:
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.
Nau is a budding clothing products company that is committed to sustainability and social awareness in various facets of its business. They build very cool stores (pictured above) and build them green. I noticed their website has some info on LEED certification, and just had to use their conversation as a partial vehicle to continue to discuss the green building certification system. Here’s what they said:
HOK and Devrouax +Purnell teamed up to design what could be the first LEED certified Major League Baseball stadium around.* As the new home of the Washington Nationals, the stadium has a slew of green features such as high-efficiency field lighting, a 6300 sf green roof, state-of-the-art wastewater system that uses sand filters, and an in-house recycling center. Originally, architects estimated an extra cost of $10-20 million for certification, but it ended up being only $2 million. Plus, the up-front costs are expected to be returned in lower operating costs. For a frame of reference, though, the owners agreed to spend $611 million for the stadium.
It’s a story that I’m seeing more and more, although I’m not too sure we’re seeing a good thing. Nissan USA spends $100 M to build a brand new office building and plans for LEED Silver certification, but in the end, they decide to spend certification cash on the wetland "rather than have a plaque on the wall."# Certification gets dropped, but we should ask ourselves a serious question: Is LEED certification merely about the plaque? Is that the only benefit we see from LEED? Spending money to get a plaque?