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December 15, 2008


Editor's Note: We were already proud of our presenting sponsor of the Green Sheet, the Tower Companies, whose own new HQ building in Rockville, 2000 Tower Oaks Blvd., has won honors this year from the USGBC, Washingtonian Magazine, and Washington Business Journal for its environmental distinction. But now the Washington Post has added its own long and prominent tribute (in Friday's editions) entitled, “Bricks, Mortar, Serenity: New Rockville Building has a Peaceful, Meditative Air.”  Check it out. We salute green pioneer Jeffrey Abramson and his family.

Move Over Greenbuild

Greenbuild’s crowds in Boston last month were a testament to the growing popularity of green building – as well as the growing number of companies entering the space. The National Apartment Association in Arlington hopes to see similar enthusiasm at its 2009 Green Conference & Exposition, being held April 28-29, 2009 at the LEED-Certified Phoenix Convention Center.

Education tracks at the conference will include sessions on the National Green Building Standard and LEED; Greening Multifamily Properties and Enhancing Net Operating Income; Green Regulations, Incentives and Mandates; Costs and Benefits of Sustainable Design; The Multifamily Investor and Apartment Resident—Will They Care?; Supplying Green Builders, Developers and Managers.

There will also be a a state-of-the-art trade show for industry suppliers to showcase their green products and services at the 2009 Green Conference & Exposition. For information visit www.naahq.org/events/green or go to NAA’s new Green Web Portal at www.naahq.org/green. It provides information on NAA’s and the multifamily housing industry’s green efforts.

DC’s First Platinum Home Set to Deliver

Wendy Walter and her husband Malcolm began to embrace environmentalism via a route familiar to many of us: their kids. But then the couple pushed their newfound enthusiasm beyond merely adopting a vigorous recycling program and establishing environmentally-friendly shopping patterns. Wendy, a real estate broker, became one of the first eco-brokers -- a designation now owned by NAR -- in DC.

Perhaps more significant to the DC community, the couple is redesigning their Georgetown home to meet LEED Platinum standards – an almost $1 million undertaking. As any developer can tell you, being the first to adopt these standards meant a steep learning curve for the Walters. Bisnow caught up with Wendy to talk about the process. 

Where we began: I’ve been very aware of what USGBC has been doing on the commercial side and when they came out with LEED for Home, I jumped on it. I took the training for that certification. Then we decided to implement it for ourselves. We had just moved here from San Francisco and selected a property in Georgetown for our home – and also as an investment to learn about the process.

Where we are right now: Waiting to do a pre-drywall check with the LEED provider. All the systems are already in. The pre-drywall check may not sound that exciting but it is crucial to LEED because it ensures the integrity of the envelop -- meaning no air comes in or out without being controlled by the system.

Who helped us and how we found them: Because we were new, we didn't want to try this by ourselves or with an inexperienced -- to LEED -- construction group. It wasn't easy when we were starting out a year ago with this, although now I am not sure if it wasn't easy because we didn't know what we know now or because there were fewer providers available than there are now.

At any rate, we put together a great team. Our LEED For Homes Provider -- or Green Rater -- is Asa Foss, director of Maryland Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (www.mdhomeperformance.org).  Andrea Foss, his wife, launched a new company called Everyday Green (everydaygreendc.com) that has been very helpful. Erik Hoffland is our architect  -- he is LEED AP. The builder is Ethan Landis with Landis Construction (www.landisconstruction.com).

More about the house: It was a 2200 SF home that the Walters decided to gut and then expand by an additional 1000 SF, located on the 3200 block of P St. It was originally constructed around 1910 and then remodeled in the 70’s. The remodeling didn't match the rest of the neighborhood.

On the savings we expect to realize once the home is operating: Hard to say because we didn't live there before. Also the house will be about 1000 SF bigger so comparing the energy bills will not be apples to apples. But we are expecting at least a 30% reduction in energy costs.

On spending $1 million: We would have rehabbed the house anyway. And I don't think we spent more because it is green. In fact, because everyone was on the same page with the project, we realized more efficiencies than we might have with a traditional building project.

What we didn't do: We would have pursued solar if we could have gotten a tax credit. If anyone is looking for a lobbyist to green our tax system, call me!


Chicago-based developer Fifield spent about $1 million bringing a Herndon office up to LEED standards as well as other upgrades. The expectation was that the designation would make the building stand out more in a sea of submarket vacancies. Called Dulles View, the 355K SF building is located at 2553 Dulles View Dr. It is an eight-story, class A complex that consists of two connected buildings. According to Craig D. Sheehy, CPM, LEED AP and president and CEO of Envision Realty Services, Dulles View will use 20% less energy than comparable brown buildings and save 900K gallons of water annually in its restroom fixtures.  KTA Group, a local engineering design and consulting firm, just signed a 20,676 SF lease there, bringing the recently delivered building to more than 30% occupancy.

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