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26 posts from January 2007

January 30, 2007

Owens Corning Headquarters Receives Silver LEED-EB Certification

Owenscorning_2

The Energy Star-rated Owens Corning (NYSE: OC) world headquarters building in Toledo, Ohio, has added another badge of honor with Silver LEED-EB certification.  Designed by Cesar Pelli (listed by the AIA as one of the 10 Most Influential American Architects) and built in 1996, Pelli spoke approvingly of the certification, "I am pleased this facility provided the solid foundation needed to earn the recognition that the LEED Existing Building certification provides."  For a couple other examples of LEED-EB buildings, feel free to click over to read about Adobe + Union Bank of California Center.  Owens Corning also runs The Pink Panther Energy Blog, which informs customers on insulation + energy conservation best practices. 

Green Features:
Here are just a few of the green features mentioned in the certification: under-floor ventilation for energy-efficient air delivery and specific control of thermal comfort; low maintenance, indigenous landscaping; easterly facing building allowing for natural lighting control via adjustable shading; and reusable, removable, non-adhesive carpet squares throughout almost the entire building.  See also CO + PRNewswire

Carnival of the Green #62

Cotg As you all know, Carnival of the Green is basically a carnival of blog posts that gets passed around from one green site to another.  Posting happens on Mondays.  Treehugger graciously supports the endeavor, so pop on over there if you're interested in hosting a carnival or submitting an article (carnivalofgreen [at] gmail dot com).  Last week, Carnival #61 was at Clay & Wattles, and next week, Carnival #63 will be at Nonoscience.

That said, I received a ton of articles and commentary, a virtual smattering of diverse topics, so go ahead and check 'em out.  Here we go in no particular order:

That's about 28 articles, so this should be enough to keep you busy for the next week.  Thanks for letting me participate Treehugger!!

January 28, 2007

Skyscraper Sunday: LEED Silver One Victory Park

One Victory Park

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

Noteworthy Green News: Week in Review

Week in Review
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

January 26, 2007

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. 

January 25, 2007

Quotable: William McDonough, FAIA

William_mcdonough_faia "If people have done any math, they will understand how valuable the green agenda is economically, and that if they don't adopt it, they are probably not intelligent fiduciaries as developers or owners."  - William McDonough, FAIA, Co-Author Cradle to Cradle, Time "Hero for the Planet," + Founding Principal of William McDonough + Partners

January 24, 2007

Steven Spielberg Movie on William McDonough, FAIA, the "Eco-tect?"

Bill_mcdonough_ecotectI hope so.  When I wrote about Green Sandwich Technologies, true south orientation, and Greenbridge Developments, I was talking about Bill McDonough.  I've also mentioned his Cradle to Cradle notion, which is about much more than sustainability, it's about "waste = food" and what happens to stuff when no one wants to use it anymore (C2C Book).  His ideas are transforming the way companies do business and make money.  And that's why he's a big deal.  He's the "Eco-tect," or the Ecological Architect, but he's also more than that:  he's innovating architecture, design, and business all at the same time.  This is the story that Steven Spielberg wants to make a movie about, and I think it will be extremely compelling. 

Right now, McDonough's company is working with Google on its campus.  He's also helping to design six cities and one village in China with stringent standards of sustainability.  If you've ever been to China, you know how big these cities can get, so we're talking about sustainability and innovation on a gigantic scale.  The American public could benefit from McDonough's reservoir of knowledge and experience, so I'm hoping that Spielberg continues with his first impulse and follows through with the film.  Via Business 2.0.   

January 22, 2007

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

January 21, 2007

Noteworthy Green News: Week in Review

Week in Review
  1. Bold U.S. Energy Goal Put Forward on Capitol Hill: 25% of Energy from Renewable Sources by 2025 - A bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives have re-introduced the 25x'25 House and Senate Concurrent Resolutions calling for a new national renewable energy goal: 25% of the nation's energy supply from renewable sources by 2025 (see also www.25x25.org).
  2. Wal-Mart to Open First High-Efficiency Store; Supercenter Expected to Use 20% Less Energy - Wal-Mart Stores,Inc. (NYSE: WMT) announced it will open tomorrow in Kansas City, Mo., the first in a series of high-efficiency stores that will use 20% less energy than a typical Supercenter.  The new high-efficiency stores will integrate industry-leading heating, cooling, and refrigeration systems to conserve energy.
  3. Poll Says 77% of American Say U.S. Must Do More to Spur Green Technologies - The Zogby/TechNet nationwide poll of 1,043 Americans found that 77% of U.S. voters believe that our nation must do more to promote green technologies.  75% of the voting population said that their purchasing decisions in the past year have been influenced by a desire to save energy and improve the environment.
  4. Unleash Your Inner Al Gore with These 12 Eco-Tips - Being green isn't just for tree-huggers anymore. In fact, 2007 may be a banner year for going green.  Read on. 

January 20, 2007

BusinessWeek: Beyond the Green Corporation + Sustainable Core Competency

Imagine_a_world_bw_cover On the first day of the new year, I blogged about my personal goal to flaunt the business case for green real estate.  I really do believe there are big opportunities in sustainability, and this week, BusinessWeek is doing the job for me.  Sort of.  The cover story is "Beyond the Green Corporation: Imagine a world in which eco-friendly and socially responsible practices actually help a company's bottom line.  It's closer than you think."  The article doesn't have a real estate focus, but real estate is business. 

I liked one point the article made: "Companies that talk the most about sustainability aren't always the best at executing."  Take Ford, for example.  Ford spent a reported $2 billion renovating their River Rouge facility into a green building, but do we consider sustainability one of Ford's core competencies?  I don't.  Sustainability is ancillary to what it really does, which is to make big trucks.  Big F150s.  Does it have sustainable practices?  Maybe, but sustainability isn't Ford's core competency.  And Ford's not alone.  Everyone is trying to grapple with the complicated balancing act between quarterly numbers and long-term sustainable practices. 

Companies that make sustainability a core competency will be very profitable in the future.  But, that's easier said than done because sustainability will require entirely new ways of doing things.  It will take time.  It takes my weekend research.  You won't find sustainability taught in most MBA schools yet, either.  But this is what competitive advantage is all about, isn't it? 

         
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