It’s not an airport, it’s a spaceport–a commercial station for the burgeoning business of space travel. As you can see from the renderings, this structure is the New Mexico Spaceport Authority Building, aka Spaceport America, which was designed by Foster + Partners (and SMCP Architects). As the first private spaceport in America, Spaceport America will be built to LEED Platinum standards. Perhaps more importantly, the building should have minimal impact on the surrounding environment: "the low-lying form is dug into the landscape to exploit the thermal mass, which buffers the building from the extremes of the New Mexico climate as well as catching the westerly winds for ventilation. Natural light enters via skylights, with a glazed façade reserved for the terminal building, establishing a platform for the coveted views onto the runway." The project is expected to cost about $31 million and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic will be the main tenant.
I really like Haworth. In short, Haworth is a leader in office furniture and architectural interiors. They do everything with a commitment to appealing aesthetics, thoughtful ergonomics, and sustainability. I came in contact with some Haworth employees when I was finishing my JD/MBA program in Dallas, and they gave me a personal tour of the super-stylish Dallas showroom (a commercial interiors office display built to LEED-CI Gold standards). Now, Haworth is working on a major, award-winning overhaul of their Holland, Michigan Headquarters. The 300,000 sf renovation was designed to meet LEED-NC Gold standards; some of the building’s green features include the following:
- The new facade will have a sun-filled atrium and vegetated green roof, blending the boundary between the structure and natural environment;
- All of the interior 830 workstations will have access to daylight views;
- Over 99% of the existing materials collected during deconstruction and recovery are being recycled; and
- Although the footprint of the building will increase by 20%, energy use will remain at pre-renovation levels due to sustainability improvements.
Of the green headquarters, Haworth Chairman Dick Haworth said, "The new Haworth Center will be a leading example of change. We’re not just building a better building … we’re building a better future."
A proposed million square foot, mixed-use development for Rosslyn Central Place in Arlington, Virginia (metropolitan DC area), recently received approvals. With construction set to begin early in 2008, the objective of this development is to create an image and identify for Arlington, as well as a sense of place in the heart of Rosslyn. This area of Rosslyn should become a hub of pedestrian activity, with various retail opportunities on the ground level. There will be two LEED certified towers: one commercial tower will have 500,000 sf of premium space and the other tower will house 350 residential units. The base of both towers will have about 50,000 sf of retail amenities. And one of the main luxuries of the development is the 10,000 sf observation deck above the commercial tower (pictured below). The observation deck will feature 360 degree views of some of the most famous locations in the country. See also Beyer Blinder Belle + WAN.
I know you could probably surf around and subscribe to a few channels here and there, but I’ve found a fun way to put the best green videos from YouTube all in one place. Introducing the Jetson Green Video Library. If you have the time, click the first one and it’ll take you through to the very end of all 17 videos. And if you like a particular video, click the YouTube logo within the video and you’ll go straight to that video’s dedicated YouTube page. Let me know if I missed one and I’ll keep the page updated with great green content.
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.