Articles With "Green Business" Tag

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.

LEED Gold David L. Lawrence Convention Center: The Three Rs in 2006

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The David L. Lawrence Convention Center (DLLCC) was conceived from a design competition in 1999, which was won by Rafael Vinoly Architects, P.C..  After a few years of construction and phased openings, the large structure was completed in September 2003.  After receiving LEED Gold certification, the Pittsburgh structure became the world’s first green convention center.  What’s interesting, however, is that the DLLCC just released some statistics from 2006 detailing the building’s operating performance. 

In their press release, the DLLCC explained its green performance within the framework of the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle): 

  • Reduce – utilizing the natural ventilation system for 58 days, roughly 33% of Exhibit Hall’s event days, eliminated the need for artificial heating and cooling;
  • Reuse – reclaimed more than 4.75 million gallons of water via the water treatment facility and reused about 1,500 wooden pallets;
  • Recycle – recycled 65,480 pounds of paper and cardboard (equivalent of 557 trees + 229,000 gallons of water) and 1,720 pounds of glass, plastic, and aluminum. 

General Manager of DLLCC, Mark Leahy explains, "These practices and results are reinforcing the community’s belief that greening has a short and long-term positive impact on Pittsburgh and the region."  Exactly.  Yet another example of positive economics and green buildings. 

Eco-Advantage: Green to Gold–the Business Case

Green_to_gold_1 One of my goals for the new year is to flaunt the business case for sustainability.  When you add that to the fact that I’ve seen several blogs talk about reading 1 book/month (as a New Year’s Resolution), you get a nasty combination: my resolution + your resolution = reading Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Building Competitive Advantage.  As a caveat, however, I haven’t read the book yet, I’ve only thumbed through the pages and table of contents.  (I couldn’t get it before Christmas because that’s when you shop for other people, but now, the copies are all gone and I’m waiting).  The book was written by Dan Esty + Andrew Winston and is getting considerable attention in business circles.  The authors also have a blog called Eco-Advantage that I’ve been reading since November or so.  It’s good.  But here’s the gist, if you need a book to read, give it a shot. 

Fiona Harvey of Financial Times recommended Green to Gold in her list of books designed "to help the entrepreneur take advantage of [the green trend]."  I’ll leave it up to you to determine whether this is a trend.  Here’s what she said: "The business reader may have more luck with Green to Gold, a manual on how to turn your company into an eco-success, catching the current wave of consumer and government interest in saving the world from environmental catastrophe."  There you go, what’s your review??

Jetson Green 2007: Flaunt the Business Case for Green Real Estate

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When I say "green real estate," I’m referring to all aspects of the real estate business.  That includes the following jobs:  developer, owner, third-party manager, agent, broker, investor, architect, contractor, sub-contractor, etc.  There is a business case for the greening of real estate, but here are some preliminary considerations. 

First, "green building" is not only about energy and water efficiency.  It must be remembered that "green building" includes the concepts of indoor air quality and environmental impact.  These three concepts can overlap, but they are distinct.  Each concept can bring profitability in different ways.  Lloyd Alter blogged about this concept (specifically on "ethical design") today on TreeHugger. 

Second, "greenwashing" is a pejorative term for companies that are trying to realize value from sustainability when their products, processes, or services do not deserve the green emphasis.  It’s free loading.  It’s disingenuous.  It’s deceptive.  And it’s counter-productive.  To make matters worse, public opinion will draw the line between greenwashing and green marketing, so companies must tread water honestly. 

It’s my personal goal for 2007 to flaunt the business case for sustainable real estate.  Here are a couple good examples from 2006. 

  • Ex 1: Adobe created value by greening their existing building. 
  • Ex 2: Ecobroker provides a way for agents to differentiate themselves in a competitive market. 
  • Ex 3: New Resource Bank is a case study in efficient market positioning as a niche bank. 

The opportunities exist for companies that want to make a difference and still remain committed to profitability; Jetson Green will remain committed to exposing and documenting those cases. 

Mixed Use Summit 2006: 4 Reasons To Think About Sustainability

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Never mind the fact that I’m supposed to be finishing a final for intellectual property, I spent the day at Victory Park and the new Dallas W Hotel, attending the Mixed Use Summit, presented by Commercial Property News and Multi-Housing News.  I found the seminar extremely enlightening and educational; I wanted to pass on some nuggets of green development wisdom.  If you could provide a nugget, a quote of sorts, on green building and the future of sustainability, what would it be?  Comments are open. 

On Sustainability:
"If you’re not thinking about sustainability, you’re missing the boat.  TODs, urban development, LEED, etc.  There are four reasons you should be thinking about it:  (1) it’s the right thing to do, (2) your competition’s doing it, (3) it adds value to the project, and (4) it speeds up the process."  – Ken Ryan, Principal of EDAW Inc. 

On LEED:

  • "This is where the future is going and groups are getting staffed up with LEED Accredited Professionals, they’re getting everyone certified."
  • "It’s sort of a best practices thing."
  • "It’s easier to sell LEED to corporate tenants, rather than human tenants, but we’re starting to get there…"
  • "If you have a project and people are worried about the bottom line, it’s tough to go LEED, especially the contractors–they’re hard to get on board, but the sales appeal is very big.  Developers know the appeal is big and they’re trying to figure it out…"
  • "In a place like Chicago, with all the requirements they have, you’re about 3/4 the way to LEED, so you might as well take the plunge and go all the way." 

This conference had many of the best developers and architects from around the country in one room, strategizing and talking about the future of land use, specifically urban development + smart growth, in the US. 

BusinessWeek's Best Ideas 2006: "Green [Building] is Good"

Bw_12182006_cover I’m a big-time reader–anything good I can get my hands on.  But, I’m picky.  So I take time to read BusinessWeek (BW) every week, and I can’t remember the last time they DIDN’T mention green this or sustainable that.  This week, BW named green building one of The Best Ideas of 2006 (slide show).  Again, this doesn’t come as a surprise because BW has been on green for a while now; back in July, for example, they had an article about the Green Wonders of the World.  Here’s a snippet from this week:  "The Hearst Building has lots of company in this year’s green all-star category, including Adobe’s new Silicon Valley headquarters, Google’s installation of solar panels at its Mountain View headquarters, and the new Bank of America tower in New York.  BofA’s glassy wonder, now emerging over Bryant Park, is expected to become the greenest office tower in the U.S., complete with a living green roof and sensors that know when to pump fresh air into stuffy meeting rooms.  Healthier workers.  Fantasy digs.  A smaller contribution to global warming.  Green is good."  Yes, indeed.  For the inquisitive, I’ve posted on Hearst and Adobe before. 

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