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April 7, 2008
(Dedicated news and analysis from the environmental
front of Washington commercial real estate)


FACE TIME with..Chris Brown

We can now include CBRE among the brokers in the DC area setting up LEED-dedicated project management practices. Today the firm announced it has tapped Chris Brown, a project manager with CBRE since 2005, to head up a new line of LEED consulting services in the project management division.

It's CB's first formal green project management initiative in the Mid-Atlantic, Brown says; in fact, Brown is CBRE's first project manager exclusively dedicated to regional green building initiatives nationwide.

CB plans to LEED accredit the 20 or so people in its local project management operation to assist Brown (CBRE has a corporate-wide goal of LEED-accrediting 100 people by the end of the year and DC/Baltimore is expected to contribute significantly to that headcount). Meanwhile, Brown says, the market is moving so quickly that there are already internal discussions to hire new people to supplement the existing staff.

Bisnow: How quickly is quickly?

Brown: In the last month we have had ten or so clients approach us for projects. We think we will be potentially servicing between 50 to 100 projects a year.

Bisnow: What kind of projects?

Brown: We've been approached about a few tenant fit outs, including from an energy company. We’ve been approached about a few existing building spaces – one is a class B looking to go to class A and others are all class A, hoping to add green. One of our clients doesn't have an interest in pursuing LEED for the entire building but it does want to attract tenants by being 'green ready.' So we are helping the client get many of the would-be tenants LEED requirements documented, ready for incorporation into the tenant's eventual CI LEED certification. So when a tenant does sign on, it will be ready to go from there. We plan offering the same 'green ready' service to other landlords and building owners. It is similar to a house being cable ready -- we can make a landlord green ready.

Bisnow: What other services will you be offering?

Brown: We'll be offering three main services. One is the green ready service; we will also act in an advisory capacity in a project where there may already be a LEED consultant, and we will provide a full scope of services for building owners to pursue LEED certification.

Energy Star Awards Highlights Program's Energy Savings

Every year the EPA weighs the energy-efficient practices of the 9,000 or so participants in its Energy Star program and selects a handful of companies to receive its Partner of the Year award. This year, Marriott made the cut -- again --  thanks to its aggressive retro-commissioning of existing hotels and pursuit of LEED certification for new hotels. The 2008 awards, though, can serve a larger purpose as well, which is to acquaint companies with the benefits of participating in the program.

To be sure, awareness of the Energy Star voluntary rating program, launched in 1992, is growing even without the annual accolades. The number of commercial buildings and manufacturing plants that have earned the Energy Star rating for superior energy efficiency has risen more than 25% in the past year, EPA says. It finds that commercial buildings with an Energy Star rating use nearly 40% less energy than average buildings and emit 35% less carbon dioxide.

A newly released CoStar study offers up other financial benefits to the government program: rental rates in Energy Star buildings represent a $2.38 per SF premium over comparable non-Energy Star rated buildings and have 3.6 percent higher occupancy.

The study also found Energy Star buildings are selling for an average of $61 per SF more than their peers.

Many of the most efficient commercial and manufacturing buildings are in California – but consultants in that state believe the Mid-Atlantic and New York area is ripe for greater adoption.  Los Angeles-based GreenLifeGuru.com, for instance, is opening an office in Columbia this week, principal Greg Steiner reports.  "Even just following some of the recommendation of the program can save a building a lot in energy cost savings – by as much as 30 percent to 70 percent," he says.


Short Takes

In case you still need to be convinced: A just-released study by the New Buildings Institute finds that new LEED certified buildings are performing 25-30% better than non-LEED certified buildings in terms of energy use. Gold and Platinum LEED certified buildings have average energy savings approaching 50%.


Local Initiatives Support Corporation has released "Green Rehabilitation of Multifamily Rental Properties: A Resource Guide." It is meant to assist affordable housing developers in greening their existing properties. The 58-page guide contains four sections - site condition and systems, building construction, mechanical systems and interior spaces. There is advice on incorporating the green building principles of energy efficiency, water conservation, resource conservation, and healthy indoor environments. To download a copy visit http://www.bayarealisc.org.


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