Answer. Thoughtfully flexible. It’s about time for a new installment to the Green Office segment. So far, I’ve mentioned the Leap + Think chairs, the Liege Desk, and office supplies from The Green Office. Enter: the MBDC Silver Cradle to Cradle Certified, GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified Steelcase Answer®. The Steelcase Answer panel workstation is the first C2C Certified powered workstation for the contract furniture industry. First, Answer uses responsible materials. Workstation components consist of panels, wood work surfaces, overhead storage and floor-based storage. There is absolutely no PVC used in its construction. Second, Cradle to Cradle certification requires product design that contemplates what happens when the product is not longer useful for its intended purpose. There’s a focus on being able to recycle or safely compost the materials. Adhesives are eliminated, where possible, and recyclable parts are clearly marked. This is a big deal considering Answer is one of the best selling systems products in the world. I bet you could get the Answer workstation penciled into your tenant improvements agreement, right? Via PRNewswire.
Albanese Organization (AO) is a great example of an interesting phenomenon: once you go green, you don’t go back. AO is the forward-thinking real estate firm behind two other green buildings, The Solaire and The Verdisian. Their specialty is sustainable and high performance buildings. They’ve partnered with Starwood Capital Group Global LLC for their third green project, which has yet to be named, located at 70 Little West Street, surrounded by Battery Place, Little West Street, Second Place, and Third Place. The $310 million, 33-story project will have 152 condominium units and retail space on the first floor. Slated for occupation in 2008, the design architect is Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects; the building architect is Schuman, Lichtenstein, Claman & Efron; the interior design is by Stedila Design Inc.; and the general contractor is Turner Construction.
The glass and terracotta tower will have a curved facade to create river views from all four corners of the building. Like most modern buildings, this building will include a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, rooftop gardens, dining area, children’s playroom, parking garage (not always a given in NYC), and a lounge room with a fireplace.
I’ve heard rumors that some LEED buyers (not necessarily this one) are looking for the LEED label and point shopping around the energy efficient requirements–why do that? The point is, buildings need to be grid-independent and levered less to energy price fluctuations. By point shopping, you’re losing money by purchasing a hollow certificate (not to mention losing valuable environmental benefits).
Anyway, this building will be 35% more energy efficient than standard code buildings; 5% of the energy load will be provided by building-integrated solar panels and 35% of the building’s energy will be provided by wind generation. Geothermal systems will provide heating/cooling for part of the building. Low or no-VOC materials will be used throughout. There will be a high efficiency air filtration system to optimize indoor air quality ("IAC"). Individual residences will have year-round climate control via digital thermostat that controls a four-pipe fan coil system. A black water treatment plant will recycle bathroom and kitchen water to resupply toilets and supply make-up water for the HVAC system cooling tower. 10,000 gallons of water will be harvested and used to irrigate the rooftop garden, which provides a layer of insulation for the building. See also Multihousing News.
There’s just one thing that I can’t figure out: why aren’t more hotels going green? Recently, I blogged about Starwood Hotels creating a luxury, green hotel brand (and there’s also the LEED-certified Orchard Garden), but why aren’t all the other hotels going green? I have two thoughts: (1) post-9/11, hotels tanked and lost a lot of money, which they’ve really started to regain from 2004 until now…they’re busy making money and don’t want to shut the place down with expensive renovations; (2) the split between ownership and management leaves a decision making gap that prevents the hotel owner from undergoing large capital improvements; or (3) hotel owners are marketing their portfolios and green (the non-monetary kind) is the last thing on their minds. But if you ask me, the hotel industry is so levered to energy costs that it’s the only way to go. Looks like Gaia Napa Valley Hotel agrees with me.
Gaia is chasing LEED Gold (couldn’t find it in the USGBC certification or registration directory), which is the second highest tier in the green building rating system. Here are some of its green features: chemical-free landscaping; energy-efficient heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system using 15% less energy; various water conservation features; solar panels; zero-chlorofluorocarbon cooling system; 100% new growth-certified wood; specialty zero energy lighting throughout the hotel and public areas; and low emission paints and adhesives.
The hotel incorporates extensive use of Solatubes. These are tubular skylights that capture sunlight from the roof and direct it into the interior space through a diffusion shaft. Imagine a periscope, except that it filters in light, not images.
Another thing I’d like to point out, is that this hotel is modern + green. Innovation has advanced to the point that green looks good. Plus, if you look at the first costs and the operating costs, in comparison to a non-green building, you’re getting a great deal, so it’s economic too. Really, there’s not other way to go, especially in the hotel industry!
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Limited (privately-held corporation with ownership of Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Marlies Hockey Club, Air Canada Centre, and Leafs TV + Raptors NBA TV) is behind an innovative, forward-looking project development called Maple Leaf Square. Being inspired by the mixed-use projects developing around sports franchise centers such as Dallas and Miami, the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Corporation will be unique in one significant aspect: it’s green, LEED-certified, that is. The project, designed by KPMB and Page + Steele, contains two aspiring towers (54 + 50 floors) built on top of a seven story podium, all including the following: 900 residential condominiums, boutique hotel with about 170 rooms, 6,000 square foot daycare, over 200,000 square feet of office space , indoor/outdoor swimming pools, fitness facilities, and high-technology restaurants, sports bars, and retail stores. It’s the quintessential multi-use development of the future, blending sports, entertainment, living, vacationing, night life, and work.
In addition to being one of the most technologically advanced building structures in the world, the project contains some important green features (note, technology also can make a building green): green roof, energy-efficient appliances in every suite, Enwave (low cost, energy efficient supplier of heating, cooling, and domestic hot water supply), individual storage/bicycle lockers, and close proximity to Toronto’s PATH system. Technologically, the building will use RFID door locks and Intelligent Building Technology (visit the website for a demonstration).
The project has been welcomed with open arms by the public; reports vary, but the Residences of Maple Leaf Square are reportedly 95% sold already. Talk about unmet demand for a modern, green structure! Available residences range in size from 400 – 2,100 square feet and price from $200,000 – $1,400,000. North Tower opens in October 2009 and South Tower in March 2010. Found by EarthChangeII.
This is a building I saw first on Archidose. Since the website project description is in Dutch, it’s hard to get specific information on this building, but I’ll share what I’ve been able to get translated. Urban Cactus is a project of the Rotterdam-based architectural office UCX Architects, founded by Ben Huygen + Jasper Jagers. It will have 98 residential units on 19 floors, and because the project abuts the harbor, the architects chose to give the building a more green, natural feel (rather than the urban feel common to neighboring architecture). I’m thinking that this layout provides an interesting mixture of sunlight + shade with the perfect amount of green space that is usually lacking in most vertical high-rise buildings.
About one year ago yesterday, Hunt Consolidated Inc. broke ground on a new office tower, which borders on Akard Street and Woodall Rogers Freeway. You’ve probably seen it, it has massive cement beams curving on its northerly face. The building is being developed by Woodbine Development Corporation, which is partially owned somehow in the Hunt Consolidated Empire. I heard from a friend (hearsay, I know) that Chairman Ray Hunt, or some other c-level executive, was asked at a luncheon whether the building was going to be green and he equivocated saying something like, "Well, we’re not going to build green just to build green, but we’ll do it if there are tangible economic reasons to do it."
I did some research and it looks like Hunt Consolidated Office Tower is registered with the USGBC as LEED-CI v2.0, otherwise know as the green ratings standard for commercial interiors. If my understanding is correct, that building is to be 100% owner-occupied, so Hunt is going green inside? Not sure. Here’s what I know. It will be a $120 million, 400,000 square foot, 15 story building. Gensler, which is #2 in the US for having the largest number of LEED Accredited Professionals, will be doing the interiors. So they have the know-how to go green on the inside. The entire structure was designed by Dallas-based Beck Group and the general contractor is Austin Commercial. Looks like it may be going green, but if the decision is still in the air, here’s my two cents: what’s more economic incentive to build green than a $6.3 million tax abatement over 10 years? That abatement should cover the 1% premium (if that) required to go green.