What If Garbage Made Your Building Stronger?
Imagine this: buildings are no long charged for garbage collection. Instead, their trash goes toward generating energy so that building waste is a resource. It's coming... eventually. We still have some time before that idea hits, but it was one of many at Bisnow's recent Sustainability: The Green Building Revolution event. It was a chance for 250 real estate pros to swap ideas, dreams, and practical tips at the Four Seasons. The city and the Pacific Northwest are already leaders in sustainable design, including both private (such as the carbon- and energy-neutral Bullitt Center) and public (Seattle’s tough new energy code). Much more is to come.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation senior director Mark Huppert says cities can’t thrive without older buildings. If you need some beach reading, check out his report: “Older, Smaller, Better.” It points out the link between older properties and the number of creative jobs in the area or human activity on the street. Older buildings—which can be green—also help grow business. Mark cited that Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks all started in older buildings, and Starbucks is still in one adapted to its needs.
Daniels Real Estate prez Kevin Daniels explains why EUI (energy use intensity) as a metric is catching on. “It’s really a proxy for carbon,” he says, and by looking at EUI on a citywide basis, “it allows us to track the performance of the built environment.” Its use represents a fundamental shift that will promote a greener city, especially now that building owners are required to disclose their buildings’ EUIs. (Just so you know: it's usually expressed as energy per square foot per year.)
Paladino & Co CEO Tom Paladino says projects that excite him are buildings that are fit for their purpose. They’re efficient in many ways, but also fun, which means "employees in the building are more productive, and companies there make more money." He also emphasized Seattle’s leadership in sustainability, noting that the first 2030 District is in Seattle. It's one of five so far nationwide that look to the future of sustainability through public/private partnerships.
DLR Group principal Jason Dardis and PAE associate principal Allan Montpellier. Jason says sustainability is shifting toward a focus on people, planet, and profit. End users' health and experience are priorities in sustainability, which leads to more flexible space. Allan stresses that the quality of the environment is critical, incorporating features such as daylight and fresh air. (Maybe we could all work from Ford Mustangs?)
Google facilities manager Stefan Riedl says "few standard buildings work for Google," so it's always working on improving its buildings. Googlers (its employees) are always on the move and want flexibility and a healthy work environment.
Our moderator was Kibble & Prentice SVP Kevin Swiryn, a specialist in commercial insurance and risk management. Fun fact: for a few years, Kevin was a pro rugby player, playing for teams in the US and France. Stay tuned for more coverage from the event.