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September 15, 2008

Calvert Jones Co., a provider of green building services and technology, invites Washington area businesses to help keep the planet clean by dropping off old fluorescent bulbs, computers and peripherals, and cell phones at the company's Environmentally Safe Recycling Drop Off Day, October 8, 2008, at their HQ: 5703 Edsall Road, Alexandria, VA.


USGBC is focusing more attention on retail space: September 12 marks the end of the first round of public commenting for the pilot rating system for Retail CI. The USGBC will require time to digest the feedback from the comment periods accompanying this particular standard; the industry can count on several months at a minimum before it is released.

In the meantime, a handful of architects are coalescing around a standard that they say will complement USGBC's work in this space. In about three weeks, www.greenboxretail.com, will go live with a green retail initiative developed by locally-based BROWN | CRAIG | TURNER, Cole + Russell in Cincinnati and another firm in Colorado, says Bryce Turner of BCT.

Bryce Turner, Mark Herbkersman, and Chris Holler—who normally don't wear ties to work—on their way to the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Annual Meeting to accept a civic award.

"What we are doing is helping developers make sustainable changes to their projects in addition to what USGBC proposes," Bryce says. Right now the retail sector is woefully lagging in such projects for various reasons. "Retailers tend to want the lowest upfront cost and lowest monthly rent — which inevitably translates into inefficient systems."

Much of what greenboxretail.com will touch upon are subjects that should be familiar to green building advocates: topics will range from daylighting to no flush urinals to low VOC paints and finishes to bike racks for commuters. "More importantly, we are encouraging sustainability beyond these topics to look at how retailers can be good neighbors," Turner says.

For instance, the parking lots in most retail developments have gotten considerably brighter over the decades, creating the 'skyglow' phenomenon. While well-lit parking lots are clearly a safety consideration, Turner maintains they are much brighter than they have to be. "You don't need the lights so bright that you can count your change in the dark." Some retailers, he suggests, like the lights not so much for safety reasons "but because they want their building to glow." At the most, lights should be at a two foot-candle, he says, referring to a unit of light intensity. "Now they are five or six foot-candles."


EastBanc is impressing prospective condo buyers, not to mention the sustainability conscious developer community in the area, with its win-win solution for the unsightly gas station next to its $100 million plus condo at 1177 22nd: It covered it with a much more pleasing green roof in exchange for some remediation concessions. "When we purchased the site, it became clear that the gas station had been using it, which created issues for which Exxon was responsible," says Mary Mottershead with EastBanc. "That gave us an entry to talk about the situation."  It was a strategy EastBanc tried out three years ago—successfully—at 3303 Water St., a nice location situated unfortunately next to a Pepco station. "We worked with them, too, to plant out their roof."


Community Preservation Development Corp's rehabilitation of Wheeler Terrace, a 116-unit property is on track to become the first multifamily affordable housing project in the District to obtain both a Green Communities certification and a LEED Gold certification. Built in 1947, Wheeler Terrace's green rehab includes a geothermal heat pump, energy star-rated appliances; and the use of environmentally-friendly building materials. The project just received a financial boost from PNC MultiFamily Capital, which is kicking in $12.1 million in the form of Low Income Housing Tax Credits.


JP Morgan's One Potomac Yard in Arlington has received Gold LEED EB, thanks to the efforts of JLL's Ben Comm, managing director of Property Management, Maureen Dowling, general manager LEED AP and Wayne DeGroat, chief engineer LEED AP, who oversaw the certification process. One Potomac Yard is one of the few—if any—buildings in the DC area that has received both Gold NC and Gold EB, Comm says.


The USGBC has handed out some $2 million in research grants to 13 projects under its Green Building Research fund, established to spur research in sustainable building practices. Besides the $2 million USGBC is awarding, the Research Fund is providing an additional $1.1 million in matching funds. The grants, which range from $90,000 to $250,000, have been awarded to such projects as a green roof energy calculator, a transportation energy intensity index and a study on quantifying the relationship between classroom ventilation and student performance.

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