Rocio Romero is a 35-year-old designer, manufacturer, and entrepreneur. She’s well known for her minimalist, modern LV Home. Do you know the history behind Rocio Romero? Christy Marshall authored an excellent article on her and her growing business in modern prefab. Romero is a graduate of University of California-Berkeley and Southern California Institute of Architecture (aka SCI-Arc). One of her first designs was a summer house for her parents in Laguna Verde outside of Santiago, Chile. That home was modified slightly and has become the LV Home that we see popping up all over the country. As for pricing, here’s what you can expect:
Smart Growth, Valuable Green Ideas, Energy Efficiency Investments + Affordable Green Developments (WIR)
- Boston suburbs urged to adhere to smart growth principles or face the loss of open space and dwindling water resources.
- There’s money to be made in green ideas; the business landscaped has changed from risk management to chasing revenue growth opportunities.
- Businesses are investing in energy efficient measures for the main purpose of decreasing rising energy costs.
- Enterprise Green Communities continues support for green buildings by handing out four grants of $70,000 to Los Angeles-based affordable housing developers.
REITs Going Greener, Consumers Priced Out of Green Products, Greener Hotels, and Eco-friendly Home Costing (WIR)
- Real estate industry quietly embracing green development, with 41% of U.S. REITs actively pursuing energy efficiency and green building upgrades.
- Business leaders aver that even though companies are greening products of all kinds, buyers are unwilling to pay a green premium (ed. note = consumers probably think the premium is unjustifiably exorbitant, even with the green components).
- Enjoy your green stay: hotels are rolling out all sorts of green programs, in part because customers demand them, and in part because they save money.
- The eco-friendly house (and renovation) has gone mainstream, but is it really worth the cost?
You may not think this news is all that sexy, but it’s a pretty big deal. GE Real Estate is an enormous source of capital funding for commercial properties. To get an idea of what we’re talking about, here are the figures: their portfolio is weighted heavier in equity investments at 54% with the other 46% in debt investments; the average investment size is roughly $6.5 million; in 2006, GE RE closed $29 billion in real estate transactions; GE RE has $59 billion in total assets. Long story short, GE Real Estate is a star player in the real estate lending game, and since they invest more on the equity side (and equity investments are smaller than debt investments), they work with tons of customers.
So starting June 25, 2007, GE Real Estate will operate from its new headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut, at 901 Main Avenue. 901 Main Avenue is a class A+ property and it’s not inherently green. BUT, GE RE has registered with the USGBC to go green on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors under the LEED-CI (Commercial Interiors) certification system. LEED Registration is not a guarantee of anything, the project still must be certified upon completion.
Here’s my take:
When GE RE is done greening the interiors, people are going to start talking about it. Employees will like the green building. The financial benefits of the green building will stand out. And all those people working inside will start to ask developers why they aren’t pursuing LEED certification, if they aren’t going green. Now capital is abundant, so this talk will be nothing more than a mere ‘suggestion,’ but eventually, developers will listen and there will be a trickle down. I’m calling it right now. GE RE is going to ‘sneeze’ green on their customers and we’re going to see a major ‘tipping point’ in the real estate development industry. Anyone agree?
[Video: 4:25 min.] Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (NYSE: AWI) is based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and operates in the business of designing and manufacturing floors, ceilings, and cabinets. Their current headquarters was built in 1998 and is now part of an elite group of buildings to obtain the LEED Platinum certification for existing buildings. Feel free to click the above link to see video of Armstrong’s HQ building. The 3-story building is a glass and steel structure that has workspaces for about 235 employees. Here are a few things they did to take the green plunge:
- 60% of the building’s waste is recycled;
- Building water use was reduced to 420,000 gallons (from 800,000 gallons);
- Less than 1.5 watts/sf of energy is used, which is 1/2 the national average for comparable properties;
- 75% of the building’s power is supplied by wind energy; and
- Green Seal-certified cleaning products are used throughout the building.
So I received from HarperCollins a copy of Ron Pernick + Clint Wilder’s latest book called The Clean Tech Revolution. I’m a big enthusiast of renewable technology because it has the potential to change the world of real estate and green living. Preliminarily, let me say that this book is an incredible read. Seriously. It’s smart and approachable. To get an idea of the breadth of the book, here are the chapter subjects: solar energy, wind power, biofuels and biomaterials, green buildings, personal transportation, smart grid, mobile technologies, water filtration, creating your own Silicon Valley, and clean-tech marketing. And the book is geared towards individuals, investors, corporations, and governments alike.
The authors are Clean Edge guys and they know what they’re talking about. The research put into each topic is unbelievably thorough. The Clean Tech Revolution is not some chump book by someone that just recently jumped on the green bandwagon (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The authors talk about the tipping point of green brought about by six C’s–cost, capital, competition, China, consumers, and climate. These six things have come together to make clean tech something of a revolution that will occur over the next 20, 30, 40 years plus. It’s pretty exciting. In each of the chapter categories mentioned above, the authors identify several companies to watch. For instance, the authors say we should keep an eye on the following companies in the ‘green building’ chapter: Aspen Aerogels, Clarum Homes, Cree, The Durst Organization, Interface Engineering, Ortech, PanaHome, Rinnai, Turner Construction, Wal-Mart Stores.
Update:: BusinessWeek published an extensive review over the weekend saying, in part: "But what sets Pernick and Wilder’s book apart is its focus on the business benefits of going green, from money saved by building eco-friendly corporate headquarters and lowering heating and cooling bills, to money earned by startups committed to creating clean technologies. Other books, magazines, and Web sites tend to include clean-tech and green business within a spectrum of other lifestyle, political, environmental, or design topics."
I’m not going to give away too much, but I’m really impressed with this book. Actually, I’ve got two people in mind that I want to pass a copy to, and they’re not getting mine.