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November 21, 2008

More Free Recycling

Calvert Jones will be holding another free recycling day sometime in Q1 2009, Mike Alexander, the company’s Green Buisness Coordinator, tells Bisnow. The first, held in the fall, was a huge success: some 3,858 fluorescent light bulbs were collected. Also, the company filled up a full sized tractor-trailer and a state body truck with used computer equipment -- the equivalent to protecting over 23,148,000 gallons of groundwater from toxic chemical leaching. 

Recycling these items -- e-waste and fluorescent bulbs -- is not easy or inexpensive for many companies; hence the large turnout, Alexander says.

Survey Says…

Financing in the building industry is not a pretty subject these days. And despite the industry learning curve that has lowered the costs of building for LEED or other green standards – upfront construction expenses for these projects are still higher than for traditional buildings. But despite these facts, real estate executives are not balking at green development, according to a new survey.

Despite the concerns about the availability of credit, 75% of the executives surveyed for Turner Construction Company's 2008 Green Building Market Barometer said they would not be any less likely to construct green buildings. In total, 754 commercial real estate executives were queried. The survey found that commercial real estate executives viewed green buildings as having lower energy, operating and lifecycle costs, higher building values, asking rents and occupancy rates. Respondents also said green buildings can generate greater ROI. Specifically, 84% said that energy costs were lower in green buildings, and 68% said overall operating costs were lower. Improved health and well-being of occupants were cited by 76%, increased building value by 72%, higher asking-rents by 65% and overall higher return on investment by 52%. Other benefits included higher occupancy rates (49%), increased worker productivity (46%) and improved learning in schools (41%).

The biggest obstacle to reaching these benefits is the cost of LEED documentation with 54% of executives noting it is an "extremely" or "very significant" obstacle. Other obstacles were higher construction costs (61%), the length of the payback period (57%) and the difficulty quantifying the benefits of green building (43%).

Still, though 83% of executives said they would be "extremely" or "very likely" to seek LEED within the next three years. Of these, 40% expect to pursue Silver, 26% will seek the certified level, 25% will pursue Gold and 10% Platinum.


Concord Eastridge and Balfour Beatty Construction have secured a $53.6 million public-private contract to develop, design and build a 170,800 SF conference center and hotel facility on George Mason University's Fairfax campus that is slated for LEED certification.

Construction will begin this fall, with the project scheduled to deliver for summer 2010. Gensler will be providing design services to the project, as part of a design-build arrangement with University Hotel Partners -- the LCC formed between Concord and Balfour to build the project.

Called the Mason Inn, the project will have a 20,000 SF conference area integrated with a 149-room hotel; there will also be a restaurant, lounge, ballroom and 11 meeting rooms.  Major construction subcontractors include JCM Associates,  J.E. Richards, Oncore Construction, Strittmatter, Henard Metal Fabricators, and Infinity Structures. Design consultants include Thornton Tomasetti and GHT.

Green Milestones

The Burchfield Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College – which is opening to the public this weekend -- will be the first art museum in New York State expected to receive LEED certification. Designed by Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects, the $33 million art center is slated for LEED Silver.


One Boston Place in Boston is the first building to earn LEED Gold for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance. It joins fewer than 100 buildings in the world that have earned LEED-EB. The building was acquired by TIAA-CREF and SITQ in 2002.


Honda's Data Center in Longmont, Colo. is the first LEED Version 2.2 Silver certified data center in the country. Data centers are considered difficult to certify because of their large energy consumption.


USGBC is opening the first public comment period for its LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system.


Peter Templeton is the new president of Green Building Certification Institute. He joined USGBC as its second employee in 2000; most recently he was SVP of Education & Research for USGBC, where he led the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, LEED training and professional certification programs, and green building research initiatives.


Four buildings in Blake Real Estate’s office portfolio have received EPA’s “Energy Star” designation – meaning it received the requisite benchmark of 75 or higher. They are 1730 Rhode Island; 1800 G; 1150 Connecticut; 1025 Connecticut.

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