- U.S. Homebuyers Will Pay Premium For Green Homes – More than half of homebuilders surveyed report that buyers are willing to pay a premium of between 11-25 percent for green-built homes. The same builders report that the average green homebuyer is between the ages of 35-50 with a college degree and fair understanding of green products.
- CBS RADIO Launches its First ‘Green’ Focused Radio Station – CBS RADIO announced the launch of 94.7 The Globe, its first "green" focused radio station. The Washington D.C. station will operate using renewable energy to power its 50,000 watt signal. This move will contribute to lowering the threat of global warming through the purchase of energy resources generated by wind. Additionally, station vehicles will be replaced with hybrid models. See also 94.7 The Globe.
- Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott Unveils ‘Sustainability 360’ – President and CEO Lee Scott today unveiled "Sustainability 360" — a company-wide emphasis on taking sustainability beyond reducing the company’s direct environmental footprint to engaging Wal-Mart’s associates, suppliers, communities and customers. Scott also announced the company’s intention to introduce "Global Innovation Projects" — one of which is a challenge for Wal-Mart associates and suppliers to start thinking about how to remove non-renewable energy from the products the company sells.
The February/ March 2007 edition of Plenty Magazine has a really good article called "The Plenty 20" by Danielle Wood. You won’t find it online, so go pick up a copy. Generally speaking, magazine lists have a tendency to be contrived, opinionated, and/or incomplete, but I thought The Plenty 20 was rather thorough. The article profiled an Ohio-based company called Fiberstars (NASDAQ: FBST). The U.S. government funded the research that became Fiberstars’ Efficient Fiber Optic Technology (EFO) with grants totaling about $13 million. Now, its lights illuminate the Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta.
How efficient are EFO lights? Their efficiency is analogous to improving gas mileage in your car from 12 MPG to 50 MPG. That’s efficient. So efficient, these lights were used in the green Bill Clinton Presidential Library.
EFO lights do not emit heat or ultraviolet rays, so they are perfect for museum or archival applications. One 70-watt metal halide lamp, which connects to a fiber optic system, can equal the output of eight 50 watt bulbs. Specifically in terms of efficiency, the EFO saves up to 80% on energy consumption, saves on maintenance (requires less work due to longer life), and saves one watt of HVAC for every three watts of lighting because the EFOs do not emit heat. Not bad. Further, Fiberstars EFO may reduce mercury emissions by up to 75% and their Reuse-Recycle Program allows customers to reuse 97% of the lamp and recycle the rest. Currently, most of Fiberstars’ customers are commercial entities such as Whole Foods, McDonalds, Trump Tower, Starbucks, Nordstrom’s, Chevron, etc. Maybe we’re not that far from turn-key consumer applications?
Here are some of the other companies on The Plenty 20: Nanosolar, ECD Ovonics, Greenfuel Technologies, Envirofit International, GE, Organic Valley, Tesla Motors, Southwest Windpower, Domini, Toyota, Whole Foods, Green Mountain Energy, Konarka, Goldman Sachs, Ormat Technologies, Ice Energy, Green Sandwich Technologies, Green Mountain Coffee, and Naturalawn.
Here’s the situation. You have two new 15-story buildings in a good location near downtown. Both buildings have received several inquiries from potential tenants. Building #1 is a traditionally-built, modern facility. Building #2 is similar, but it’s green (LEED-CS + LEED-CI). A lease for 40,000 square feet of space at #1 is $35 and #2 is $36.50 per square feet. Would you pay the extra $1.50 per square foot to lease space in the green building? We’re talking about a serious premium. I’m interested to hear what your perspective is on this.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, these rents are justifiable for a few reasons. I’m going to clip out a few comments from their article, but feel free to read the entire thing.
- Organizations with business models reflecting sustainability will be more likely to pay the premium.
- Although green buildings are going up at an incredible rate, most of these are for use by the owners and most developers view speculative green developments as risky.
- There is a dearth of tenable green lease space and requests for green space are falling on deaf ears.
- The market is tenant driven right now and tenants have had success cooperating with owners to make green improvements or renovations.
I think there will be a paradigm shift, but I don’t know how it will happen. Somehow, the values of individuals and organizations need to shift towards an appreciation of sustainability, and that will create serious, mainstream adoption of green buildings. Maybe the impetus will be regulatory? Self-imposed? Strategic? I learned in Starting a Business 101, that some of the best opportunities in business become available due to a void or an absence in the market. If it’s true that some customers and tenants are requesting green space, but the inventory isn’t available, there’s a void in the market that will be filled by the first innovators. The rest will wake up some day and think, "I thought green buildings were for hippies?! What’s going on?" Which is partially an answer to my post the other day. Via Appraisal Podcasts.
Jeriko is Different… Design… Strength… Green… Flexibility… Living. Jeriko House: It Lives in you. Today, New Orleans-based CEO of Jeriko House, Shawn Burst, announced his company’s plans to enter the modular/prefab home building market with 5 different models (each with an infinite number of configurations). Burst teamed up with a German engineer to use a patented, interlocking aluminum framing system–one that is strong enough to meet the strictest U.S. earthquake and hurricane building codes. The plumbing, appliances, lighting, hardware, interior finishes, and exterior cladding are all integrated into an advanced structural system through the collaborative efforts of a team and network of design/construction professionals. Starting at $175 per square foot, a Jeriko House will have such luxuries as Asian teak wood finishes, coconut skin walls, Indian rosewood door handles and stone, and marble + ceramics from around the globe. Homes will also include "biometric systems and homeowner-friendly technology." Bourne-style, I presume.
The first home will be completed in New Orleans and the company anticipates orders of 100 more relatively soon. Actually, they’re taking orders right now for May delivery. Their website says a purchaser is responsible for permits, site work, foundation, plumbing, electrical, HVAC rough in, and landscaping. Shipping is included in the cost of the home, and Jeriko will help you build it.
Straight from the website: "We feel it is our duty at Jeriko House to take a leading role in the efforts to save our planet. Sustainability, energy efficiency and environmental friendliness are at the core of our beliefs. With a R&D team searching the globe for the latest and greatest green innovations and technology Jeriko will fulfill its roll as a socially responsible company at the forefront of the Green Revolution." I like what Jeriko’s saying, but we can’t forget that acting locally, rather than globally, has its green benefits as well. Also, take a look at today’s press release. For every 10 houses sold, those 10 owners form a committee that votes to give a Jeriko House to a family in need somewhere in the U.S. I think Jeriko is taking an innovative perspective to all facets of the business and can’t wait to see the first home! Maybe I’ll just drive down and see it when they’re done.
Taking a page from local developer Harwood, it looks like Hillwood decided to throw its hat into the green development ring with One Victory Park. 1VP is a 20-story, 450,000 square-foot, LEED-Silver office building slated for completion in 2008. I’ve read a few conflicting reports on the actual details of the building, so we’ll have to watch and really determine the true specs. Hines + Hillwood will be co-developing the project, which includes a Two Victory Park that seems identical to 1VP. Boka Powell is the lead architect with Austin Commercial as the general contractor.
1VP already has a tenant for six floors of the building. Haynes and Boone recently announced that it would relocate from the Bank of America tower (tenant of 22 years), retaining Gensler as the interior design architect. A recent news article pointed to suggestions that all the offices would be the same size, meaning senior and junior attorneys would be indistinguishable according to office size. Why? Efficiency and money savings. Use your imagination on this one. Image via.
- Massachusetts Power Plants to Pay Emissions Penalties: State Rejoins a Northeast Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Massachusetts power plant owners will have to pay a penalty for every pound of emissions that contribute to global warming under an agreement signed by Governor Deval Patrick yesterday that is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for an ambitious energy conservation and renewable energy program.
- Green Schools the Hottest Market for Green Building According to McGraw-Hill Construction’s Latest Report – MHC found that the education sector is the fastest-growing market for green building, good news for the industry, given that education construction (at the K-12 and university levels) is the largest construction sector, by value, at $53 billion for 2007.
- Wind Farm Building Boom to Continue in 2007: Wind Power Capacity in the U.S. Grew 27% Last Year – The U.S. now has enough installed wind power capacity (11,603 megawatts) to power between 3 million and 3.5 million homes, which reduces annual greenhouse gas emissions by 23 million tons of carbon dioxide. The number of homes relying on electricity produced by wind energy will rise to nearly 4.5 million by year’s end if the AWEA’s forecast is accurate.
- The U.S. Climate Action Partnership: Big Businesses and Eco-Advantage – The companies in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership are Alcoa, BP America, DuPont, Caterpillar, General Electric, Duke Energy, Lehman Brothers, PG&E, PNM Resources and FPL. These big businesses have a goal help the U.S. create public policy that would act aggressively and sustainably to slow, stop, and reverse the growth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. See also NRDC.