Articles With "Development" Tag

Clarification Please! Is Green Building More Expensive or Not?

20_dollar_bill

Recently, I attended a guest lecture by a seasoned real estate developer, and he was talking about the profitability of his projects.  This speaker has major experience will all types of investments including retail, single family, industrial, condo, etc.  I put him on the spot and asked him about the numbers he’s seen on sustainable developments.  His answer:  "They’re expensive, a break-even proposition at best.  Development is going that direction, but not now.  They’re not cheap, at all.  We’re talking 20, 30, 40% more expensive.  I won’t do them."  I was blown away. 

In stark contrast, on Monday, January 22, Rick Fedrizzi, CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council, said to the Miami Herald, "We are now at the point where you can build to LEED standards and it is not one penny more than conventional buildings.  We are more experienced now.  We have a proliferation of green building products and services."  From this perspective, it’s profitable and financially responsible to be environmental and build green. 

Someone’s wrong, who is it?

When I hear Fedrizzi’s statement, I’m led to believe that he’s accounting for construction on a first costs basis (not including the operational savings).  And I think he is.  He’s saying it costs the same to build green as non-green, on a first costs basis.  I mentioned the obstacles to building green recently, so is this a case where the developer was unaware?  What’s the deal?  I’m interested in hearing some real world discussion here. 

Skyscraper Sunday: Arterra – The LEED-Certified San Francisco Treat

Arterra

Arterra is an urban living, high-rise community in Mission Bay that will have a mixture of flats and townhomes of various sizes.  Arterra has three buildings: "Sky," a 16-level tower, "City," a 9-level building, and "Park," a 6-level building with 2-story homes.  Go to the Arterra website and you can watch a video that shows you the views from each building.  Because Arterra is a high-end lifestyle community, you will have benefits such as 24-hour concierge, state-of-the-art fitness center, community lounge, rooftop sun deck with lounge and barbecue, etc.  But, another feature of Arterra is that it will be the first LEED-Certified Green high-rise community in San Francisco. 

Green Features:
Arterra is going after LEED certification, so here are some of the current green amenities being planned:  formaldehyde-free cabinets (Studio Becker); low-emitting paint and carpets; high-efficiency water heating boiler; Kohler dual-flush toilets and other water-saving features; low-E, energy-efficient, insulated windows; Energy Star home appliances and gas ranges; bamboo for all standard kitchen floors; cork flooring at all elevator levels; recycled glass floors and FSC-Certified wood walls in entry-level lobby; bicycle storage in the parking garage; and recycled content panels for the exterior facade.  Arterra is being developed by Intracorp Companies

Arterra_rendering

LivingHomes News: Ray Kappe v2 + LEED Silver

Ray_kappe_v2

It looks like LivingHomes is lighting up the blogosphere again with more news.  I’ve talked about Living Homes here + here, and I really like the company, big-time.  So there are a few tidbits of news that you may find interesting:  (1) LivingHomes has committed to make all its homes LEED Silver, at a minimum, and will work with owners to pay for certification costs, and (2) LivingHomes has entered into a partnership with Enterprise Community Partners (ECP) to take some proceeds from LivingHomes sales and put them into a fund for affordable green home communities.  So we see LivingHomes expanding its target consumer base to allow for broader adoption due to possibly lower prefab costs–that said, these are green, architect-designed homes that command a price premium. 

Interestingly, you’ll also find Ray Kappe’s second design (RK2) on the newly redesigned LivingHomes webpage.  Pictured above, RK2 will be LEED Silver (Total Points = 50.5) and will have the following green benefits:  yearly energy savings enough to power the home for 2 months; yearly water savings enough to fill 2 swimming pools; 80% of construction waste diverted from landfills; and 67% construction from recyclable materials.  It will be about 2,215 square feet, with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  RK2 looks to be the perfect fit for large lots with expansive views.  It will include an interior garden as well. 

The Sustainable, High-Performance illumaWALL by Duo-Gard

Illumawall_picture

The "illumaWALL," which is a translucent illuminated wall system designed to project a programmable million+ colors, has been singled out by both Architectural Record and Buildings magazines in their 2006 lists of top products.  If I must say so, that’s quite the achievement.  The illumaWALL incorporates translucent polycarbonate glazings with programmable LED lighting for custom design/build applications.  Depending on the type of energy a project is looking for, the illumaWALL could be used both in the interior and exterior, and in commercial, retail, hotel, education, entertainment, industrial, healthcare, or residential uses. 

From what I understand, the wall will also contribute LEED points towards a building owner’s certification.  The translucent polycarbonate glazings minimize heat gain and glare (which leads to lower heating and cooling costs) and the LED lighting incorporates low-voltage, low-heat design.  Not bad.  I could see how the illumaWALL would be good for a restaurant, spa, or retail store, depending on the overall design and brand concept.  Via PRNewswire + Duo-Gard + Info PDF

Illumawall

Skyscraper Sunday: LEED Gold Connecting Old + New (Seattle)

Fifth_and_madison Boc_north_face

I came across an interesting statistic (which will be obsolete in no time) about LEED certified office buildings.  There are about 669 LEED certified office buildings, and of that number, only 38 are remodels.  Why?  When you have a building that’s occupied, how are you going do a green renovation without losing rents?  Here’s one way.  The former Union Bank of California Center, the 41-story, 34-year-old building owned by Beacon Capital Partners, is looking to be one of the few LEED-Existing Building (EB) certified structure in the United States.  Because most of the leases are due to expire over the next five years, the company will be able to renovate as space opens up.  They’ll shift tenants around until the building is complete.   

This is about a $36 million remodel job.  Green amenities will include the following:  shaved columns for added light; automated artificial lights; recycled and recyclable carpet; no- or low-VOC paints; recycled metal in ceilings; new insulation in walls that were uninsulated; new high-efficiency heating and cooling systems; water-efficient bathroom fixtures; and runoff water landscaping. 

Additionally, BCP started construction next door on a new, 24-story, 126-unit green condo tower at Fifth Avenue and Madison Street.  The new building will be complete in 2008.  BCP officials said they are seeking LEED Gold for both buildings.  I must say that will be a powerful juxtaposition of the old and new:  both environmental leaders in their own way (EB + NC).  Via Seattle Post-Intelligencer + Emporis.

Noteworthy Green News: Week in Review

Week in Review
  1. Kulongoski Proposes $30 Million for Green Energy – Oregon Governor Kulongoski’s budget proposal includes $5.2 million for the nation’s first in-water wave generation and demonstration research facility, $2 million to the state’s energy department to place solar panels on top of schools and $10 million to foster geothermal projects at Oregon universities. Another chunk of money, $3.7 million, would provide tax breaks for businesses that use and make products that consume biofuel.
  2. Help Wanted–Green; Green Development Could Be a Big Generator of Good Jobs, If America will Seize the Opportunity – There are good jobs to be had in environmentally friendly development, and construction jobs are just the beginning. Thousands of jobs are in products that go into green buildings. The job potential in renewable energy production is even more impressive…
  3. China Chokes on Coal-fired Boom: Toxic Cloud of Progress Can be Seen from Space – the Chinese plan to build no fewer than 500 new coal-fired power stations, adding to some 2,000, most of them unmodernised, that spew smoke, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere…Cancer rates are soaring, child health is a time bomb and…an estimated 400,000 premature deaths nationwide because of pollution every year.
  4. Short-term Air Pollution Increases Risk of Heart Attack for Those with Clogged Arteries – A new Brigham Young University study (by Arden Pope) published in the world’s top heart journal shows that a one- or two-day rise in air pollution causes a significant increase in the risk of unstable angina and heart attacks in the millions of Americans who have significant coronary artery blockage.


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