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Yesterday, after years of hearing, "Yeah, but does it save money?" Alfa Development CEO Michael Namer and other top panelists delivered some quantifiable results of green building at our 3rd Annual NY Sustainability Summit.
Michael Namer at the NY Bar Association on Aug. 21, 2012
Older buildings, with their thick walls and small windows, are way more efficient than those built from the '50s through the '80s, Michael says. An 1895 SoHo building that his company converted to lofts saved so much money on operations in its first two years (mostly from energy efficiency) that Alfa returned $10k to each resident. He started developing sustainable residences because his kids kept asking, "Why don't you build green buildings, Dad?" (Captain Planethad a much more profound effect on this generation than anyone would've imagined.) Now Alfa has the Chelsea Green condos under way to complement its Village Green and soon, Michael says, the firm will debut a similar green hotel collection.

Charlotte Matthews at the NY Bar Association on Aug. 21, 2012
Related's Charlotte Matthews says her company is one of the few looking forward to LEED 2012—because LEED 2009-prescribed efficiencies aren't revolutionary anymore. Related decided in '08 to go green exclusively because it was cheaper than paying a premium on mid-project changes as clients requested them. Now the company is working with a manufacturer on a hybrid heat pump (there's only one on the market now) to add competition and bring the price down.
Tom Hill at the NY Bar Association on Aug. 21, 2012
Boston Properties' Tom Hill emphasizes building "a good box" but then also maintaining that momentum. BP meters every building because "if you can't measure it, you can't control it." (Didn't Confucius write that in The Tao of CRE?) He says efficiency over the life of a building only happens when there's good commissioning, sound maintenance, and operator training. Otherwise, a legacy of inefficient design, contstruction, and operation makes for years of waste.
Dave Pogue at the NY Bar Association on Aug. 21, 2012
Our moderator, CBRE national sustainability head Dave Pogue, wondered how our panelists influence tenants to maintain the green gains. Michael says the little things count. At Alfa's Village Green condos (11th Street between First and Second), sustainable practices were written into the building board's statutes. The building, for instance, pays for all light bulbs (tenants trade in each dead bulb for another energy-efficient one from the super).
NY Bar Association on Aug. 21, 2012
More than 200 joined us at the NY Bar Association on 44th Street, a venue we chose not for its beauty but for its apt green carpet and curtains, of course.
Jennifer O'Donnell, Pattie McMahon, and Tom Krol at the NY Bar Association on Aug. 21, 2012
We also snapped Cannon Design's Jennifer O'Donnell with ConEdison Solutions' Pattie McMahon and the always jubilant Tom Krol. Jennifer was the lucky winner of a Kindle our sponsor ConEd raffled off at our event. (Kindles are more energy-efficient than TVs, right?) Stay tuned for more from our event after Labor Day.