- Duke Energy Donates $80,000 to The Nature Conservancy for Shareholders Choosing Paperless Delivery of Annual Report
- S. California "Green Schools" Light Bulb Exchange Program Enables Students to Reduce their Families’ Home Energy Bills
- The U.S. Supreme Court Ruled 5-4 that the EPA violated the Clean Air Act by Declining to Regulate New-Vehicle Emissions Standards to Control the Pollutants that Contribute to Global Warming.
The subject of this week’s Skyscraper Sunday is the striking 1180 Peachtree in Atlanta, Georgia. Designed by Pickard Chilton Architects, 1180 Peachtree rises 41-stories with a 119-foot lighted veil at the top. It was also one of the first offices nationally to receive LEED-CS Silver pre-certification for its use of recycled materials, encouragement of alternative transportation, minimization of environmental impact by sourcing materials locally, and attention to using no- or low-VOC adhesives, sealants, and carpets. Developed by Hines, the building has vegetation on the roof to absorb rainwater, store it in underground storage, and use for landscaping (eliminating the need for city water). With about 670,000 sf of office + 35,000 sf of retail, this building is a gem in the Atlanta market. In the middle of 2006, the local real estate community did a double take when 1180 Peachtree sold for $400 per sf. Some people said this was part of a trend (good office market in Atlanta, lots of capital, etc.), but I think the selling price was a reflection of the excellence of the property. It’s a flagship, a trophy property, a green property. Green properties are (1) new, (2) well-designed, (3) easy to lease, and (4) fit well with all companies. It’s not hard to sell an amazing, great-looking, stabilized asset with low vacancy.
One aspect of green building that gets overlooked is financial independence. For instance, a commercial business may make an investment in solar power (provided incentives and rebates make it economically feasible) to stabilize electricity bills and hedge against future electricity cost increases. Another example is the principle of waste reduction in green building. Did you know that building green often costs the same or just a little bit more than standard code-built homes? And did you know that even then, green homes will require less money going forward than standard code-built homes? To that end, here are some affordable green building strategies (click this link to read more about each strategy): Global Green’s 20 Affordable Green Building Strategies:
- Orient the Building to Maximize Natural Daylighting
- Place Windows to Provide Good Natural Ventilation
- Select a Light-colored Cool Roof
- Provide overhangs on South-facing Windows (be careful of your hemisphere!)
- Install Whole-House Fans or Ceiling Fans
- Eliminate Air Conditioning
- Provide Combined-Hydronic Heating
- Install Fluorescent Lights with Electronic Ballasts
- Install High R-value Insulation
- Select Energy Star Appliances
- Design Water-efficient Landscapes
- Install Water-efficient Toilets + Fixtures
- Use Permeable Paving Materials
- Use 30-50% Flyash in Concrete
- Use Engineered Wood for Headers, Joists, and Sheathing
- Use Recycled-content Insulation, Drywall, and Carpet
- Use Low- or No-VOC Paint
- Use Formaldehyde-free or Fully Sealed Materials for Cabinets + Counters
- Vent Rangehood to the Outside
- Install Carbon Monoxide Detector
[Key: Energy, Water, Materials, Indoor Air Quality] Now, some of these may only work for new construction or for renovation, etc., but this is a good starting point for going green, in an affordable way. Keep in mind the geographic constraints–this isn’t an exhaustive list for every location in the world. Different locations present unique circumstances and opportunities can vary greatly. Via Global Green.
When I lived in Japan, I was always feeling the pinch of electricity bills. It wasn't because of over-consumption. Things were just plain expensive. And luckily, the electricity meter was always near the front door, so I got in the habit of opening the door to check the spin rate on the meter. After looking at the meter, I'd walk around and unplug things that weren't in use. Here in the U.S., though, there's no easy access to the meter, especially in the traditional single-family home. Which is why something like the PowerCost Monitor could come in handy.