Energy-efficient buildings have lower operating costs, but also tend to command higher rents and enjoy higher occupancy and tenant retention levels than traditional buildings.

A recent Energy Efficiency Survey, developed by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) in collaboration with the Institute for Market Transformation, looked at what motivates office building owners to improve energy performance. The survey focused on how financial methods used to evaluate capital expenditures impact decisions to invest in improving energy efficiency.

IREM and the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) distributed the survey to their members and received 307 responses, which represented 1.7 percent of the total survey distribution. The survey found that most respondents use simple payback calculations to evaluate energy efficiency projects, usually basing decisions on recovering the investment in one to two years. The study revealed that this simple payback does not capture the full benefits of energy efficiency, like Net Present Value (NPV) analysis, which incorporates potential revenue increases from higher rental income.

The survey also found that building owners are more inclined to invest in energy-efficiency improvements if they can charge higher rents, particularly in split-incentive situations, where energy-cost savings accrue solely to tenants. Split incentives had posed a barrier to investing in improving energy efficiency, but this was overcome with the “green lease,” which requires tenants to participate in energy and water conservation programs.

Additionally, the survey noted that while the property manager is responsible for the building’s everyday energy management, the asset manager usually makes the final decision on whether to invest in improving energy performance. When third-party managers have authorization to make capital expenditures it is usually a small dollar amount of $25,000 or less.

“But that authority exists almost not at all,” according to Brenna Walraven, founder/CEO of Corporate Sustainability Strategies Inc., which provides sustainability strategy development and execution plans.

CBRE’s Global Director of Corporate Responsibility David Pogue notes he is surprised IREM’s study focused on energy efficiency.

“Energy efficiency was a singular topic a decade ago, when everyone began getting buildings Energy Star-certified,” Pogue says.

Pogue was less surprised by the low rate of survey respondents, which he suggested is an indication that people viewed the survey topic as old news. When a 2009 study of 150 Energy Star buildings in 10 markets revealed that these buildings were commanding rent premiums of three to five percent and enjoyed high occupancy levels, landlords of class-A office buildings got on board, but those with lower quality assets did not necessarily.

“Today most of the office sector has broadly adapted green practices, though not every building is necessarily certified by a green-rating system,” Pogue says.

The 2016 Green Building Adoption Index study by the CBRE Group Inc. and Maastricht University showed that the rate of growth in ‘green’ building has slowed, rising from 39.3 percent in 2014 to just 40.2 percent last year, but adoption of green building practices in the 30 largest U.S. cities continues to be significant.

“While the rate of growth in ‘green’ buildings has slowed modestly, our latest study underscores that in most major markets, sustainable office space has become the ‘new normal,” Pogue notes.

The study reported that 11.8 percent of U.S. office buildings, representing 40.2 percent of office space, have been certified by either the U.S. Green Energy Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or the U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Star program.

“However, that nearly 40 percent of high-profile office buildings in core urban markets are green-certified because they have to be green to compete,” Pogue adds. “Those buildings tend to attract high-profile tenants, who demand a high-performance building environment.”

LEED rates a building’s impact on the environment, but Pogue points out that the next level of certification, International WELL Building Institute, rates a building’s impact on occupants. The WELL Building Standard places health at the center of indoor design, incorporating healthy ideas based on seven concept categories: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.


Source: NREI

Is “green” living important to you?

If you’re a boomer or GenX’er, the answer is likely “yes,” and interest in environmental sustainability is increasing. That’s why some forward-thinking retirement communities are offering residents everything from greener buildings to energy-efficient lighting to community gardens. And some towns are putting a focus on walkability.

According to AARP surveys, such measures are important to a large segment of older Americans. Its 2014 House and Community Preferences of the 45+ Population survey, for example, found that 61% of respondents valued their community being “easy to walk,” with those over 65 most appreciating walkability. Roughly 30% wanted their community to be near transit with an equal portion wanting to be close to a park.

Traditional retirement communities, though, have typically been built on the outskirts of town, leaving residents dependent on cars. And their manicured lawns and golf courses usually use plenty of chemical fertilizers and herbicides, not to mention water — a scarce resource in much of the nation.

A recent New York Times story found that the supply for green retirement communities has not kept up with the demand. But that may be shifting.

If environmental concerns or saving money through energy-efficient housing matters to you, here are a few examples of what’s out there:

Living Light

One standout is Pennswood Village in Newtown, Pa., a Quaker continuing care retirement community founded in 1980.

“Sustainability is one of our six founding Quaker principles,” says marketing director Jennifer Doone. “It was important to our founders, and it continues to be important to our residents and staff.”

One green standout is Pennswood Village in Newtown, Pa., a Quaker continuing care retirement community founded in 1980

One green standout is Pennswood Village in Newtown, Pa., a Quaker continuing care retirement community founded in 1980

The community is open to all, not just Quakers. Among the steps Pennswood has taken: It constructed a personal care (assisted living) building with LEED gold certification, the second highest level given by the U.S. Green Building Council; it installed a geothermal heating and cooling system for some common buildings; it supported a resident-initiated recycling program; it planted a community garden and, through a partnership with the nearby town, it created an award-winning, multi-million-dollar storm management system under its natural meadow that benefits Pennswood and the surrounding community.

Doone says representatives from other senior living communities visit Pennswood to learn about its LEED certification and landscape and architecture students come to study the storm management system.

New residents Lynne and Todd Waymon, in their 70s, were drawn to Pennswood in part because of its environmental ethic. They immediately joined the residents’ Environmental Concerns Committee, which developed a year’s worth of activities to encourage sustainable practices, such as reducing the use of plastic bags. Working in partnership with the dining services staff, the committee found that residents and staff used 2,250 plastic bags in June, just for carrying leftovers from the café. After their campaign began, the number dropped to 1,750 in July.

Lynne Waymon, who had not been an environmental activist before retirement, says she views Pennswood as a microcosm and says she hopes to put the experience she gains there to use at the town or state level.

“People get to a certain age and they think, ‘I’m done, I don’t have any influence or say,’ and that’s sad,” she says. “I want people to band together and feel powerful — and know that we can make a difference.”

Pennswood residences range from studio apartments to two-bedroom homes. Two possible contracts are available: fee-for-service, in which long-term-care costs are paid later as needed, either at Pennswood or elsewhere or a lifecare contract which includes long-term care, including a nursing home, at Pennswood. There is a one-time entrance fee and monthly service fees. The cost ranges from a $90,000 to $400,000 entrance fee, depending on the contract, and monthly fees of $2,500 to $8,000 for a couple.

A Smaller Ecological Footprint

Co-housing, a community model developed in Denmark, is generally more sustainable than the average American household. Individual homes are smaller, with large common spaces and gardens. Co-housing residents tend to use less energy and drive fewer cars.

EcoVillage in Ithaca, N.Y., (its street address, appropriately, is Rachel Carson Way), is a large co-housing, independent living community with an unusually strong commitment to living green.

“The whole reason that we started this community was to demonstrate how to live more sustainable lifestyles and to put some very good working models on the ground so that people could come visit and get inspired and take home good ideas to their own communities,” says Liz Walker, EcoVillage’s executive director.

EcoVillage in Ithaca, N.Y. is a large co-housing, independent living community with an unusually strong commitment to living green

EcoVillage in Ithaca, N.Y. is a large co-housing, independent living community with an unusually strong commitment to living green

Now in its 24th year, EcoVillage is comprised of three neighborhoods. When the newest section is fully occupied later this year, 230 people will live there, about one-quarter of them over 60. Eighty percent of the new housing is wheelchair-accessible, something the community hadn’t considered building when its founders were younger. Currently, homes are available for rent starting at $450 a month and for sale starting at $97,000.

“We’re aiming at affordability, accessibility and sustainability,” says Walker. “These goals can be in conflict with each other, so we’re trying for a happy medium.”

The newer homes are among “the most energy efficient in the United States,” she says. Using a “passive house” system, developed in Germany, they are 80 to 90% more energy efficient than what the standard building code requires, Walker says. Two of the new homes produce more energy than they use, by employing solar for heating, electricity and hot water. “It’s extremely hard to achieve,” says Walker. “I’m very proud of our group.” (In September, EcoVillage is offering a workshop on how to achieve net zero energy buildings.)

EcoVillage has also preserved 80% of its 175 acres as green space. The property includes an organic farm, a neighborhood root cellar, and community gardens, ponds and woodlands.

Walkable Communities

Portland, Oregon, is bike and pedestrian friendly with a network of light rail, buses and streetcars

Portland, Oregon, is bike and pedestrian friendly with a network of light rail, buses and streetcars

What about the eight out of 10 people who say they’re not moving anywhere? The growing movement to make cities “age friendly” shares many of the “livability” goals of environmentalists — such as increased walkability, public transit options and community gardens. At least 28 U.S. municipalities, as well as AARP, have joined the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.

One pioneer is Portland, Ore. The city is bike and pedestrian friendly with a network of light rail, buses and streetcars. Its Green Building and Development Program works with residents and businesses to encourage sustainability.

Portland’s original development was during the streetcar era, with each terminus on the line having a village center, explains Barbara Bernstein, executive director of the nonprofit Elders in Action. “So our neighborhoods are built around these,” she says. “Within walking distance is a library, several coffee shops and restaurants.”

Walker also points to some 30 farmers markets and a vibrant local agriculture scene. Entrepreneurs are creating new businesses, she adds, such as Soup Cycle, which pedals homemade meals to customers. Bernstein, 55, uses the service after a long day’s work. Businesses like these give older people easy access to ready-made fresh food, she says.

All these efforts at sustainability promote a high quality of life.

“With so much demoralizing going on in the world,” she says, “the local focus that Portland offers is really life affirming.”


Source: Forbes



With 41.6 percent of its office space considered “green,” Miami ranked ninth of 30 markets on the 2015 Green Building Adoption Index, a joint project of CBRE Group, Inc. and Maastricht University.

For the purposes of this report, “green” office space is defined as holding either an EPA ENERGY STAR label, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) full-building LEED certification or both. Using square feet as a measure, 41.6% of Miami’s office market is “green” – well above the national average of 38.7%.  Moreover, Miami ranked particularly well in terms of number of buildings considered green – over 17%. By square feet, 21.84% of Miami’s office market has a LEED certification, and over a third of the office market is ENERGY STAR rated.

This is the second year in a row that Miami ranked ninth on the list, behind U.S. cities such as Minneapolis, which led the Green Building Adoption Index’s city ranking for the second consecutive year with 70.4 percent of all office space currently qualified as green (down from 77.0 percent in 2014.)  San Francisco, again in second place, significantly closed the gap and now boasts a 70 percent green market, up from 67.2 percent in 2014. Chicago, at 63.4 percent, was third, while Atlanta (57.8 percent) and Houston (52.9 percent) swapped positions at fourth and fifth. The top 10 cities on the 2014 list all retained a place on the 2015 list.

The study also found that owners of small buildings have an opportunity to differentiate themselves by implementing energy-efficient practices, due to a significant gap between large and small office buildings in achieving sustainability certification. For example, 62.1 percent of office buildings in the U.S. greater than 500,000 square feet are considered green. In contrast, only 4.5 percent of all U.S. office buildings less than 100,000 square feet qualified as green.

“Our 2015 study confirmed that green building adoption has been primarily a big building, first-tier city phenomenon,” said David Pogue, CBRE’s global director of corporate responsibility. “It would appear that many smaller buildings in the majority of large markets still have an opportunity to be ‘best in class’ among their peer set by achieving these certifications.”

Executed in close collaboration with the USGBC and CBRE Research, this is the second release of the annual Green Building Adoption Index. Based on a rigorous methodology, the Index shows the growth of ENERGY STAR- and LEED-certified space for the 30 largest U.S. office markets, both in aggregate and in individual markets, over the previous 10 years.



Sources: CRE-sources

Making hospitals more environmentally friendly may have once seemed like a trendy notion or expensive luxury that would fall by the wayside, but that’s not been the case.

Many hospitals have begun placing a greater emphasis on becoming “healthy buildings” that incorporate sustainability into their design, construction materials, utilities and even workflow processes. Often times, phrases such as “going green” and “environmentally friendly” conjure images of futuristic buildings covered in solar panels and rooftop gardens and surrounded by wind turbines, but eco-friendly elements hospitals have incorporated are hardly visible, yet very impactful.

The Mission And Money Behind Sustainability

There are two fundamental camps of thought when it comes to hospitals and sustainability, according to Deb Sheehan, executive director of the health practice for CannonDesign, an integrated design firm specializing in healthcare, among other areas. “One camp is asking, ‘Does sustainability align with our mission?’ and the obvious answer is ‘yes,'” says Ms. Sheehan. “We’ve seen a lot of larger health systems with healthy community initiatives in place really starting to say, ‘If we’re going to make good on our mission, we must be committed to investing in healthy buildings that steward the protection of the environment.'”

The first camp’s thinking really harks back to the fundamental premise of “First, do no harm,” and interpreting that concept with a much more systemic approach, said Ms. Sheehan. The second camp is driven by the financial aspects and payback of sustainability. “When you look at the healthcare building typology, most acute-care facilities are 24/7 operations, so energy consumption serves to claim a robust amount of the hospital’s operating budget, just to keep the buildings running,” says Ms. Sheehan.

John Ebers, associate director of facility engagement and the energy program at Practice Greenhealth — a membership organization and environmental solutions provider for the healthcare sector — echoes Ms. Sheehan’s thoughts. “Within a hospital, energy and utilities represent a fixed cost. Anytime hospitals can drive down a fixed cost, they can improve their margins,” says Mr. Ebers.

Although more hospitals are expressing interest in ‘designing green,’ many are not participating in the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices, according to Ms. Sheehan. “Honestly, on a domestic coast-to-coast basis, a limited number of our clients are going through the protocol to document and obtain LEED certification,” says Ms. Sheehan. “Many hospitals are committed to following green guidelines and utilizing sustainable strategies, but are less willing to expend the resources that go with the LEED certification process.” That’s not to say, however, that LEED is obsolete.

Kaiser Permanente: Leading The Way In Green Power

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente is a considerable proponent of LEED, as well as numerous other eco-friendly initiatives. In 2013, Kaiser Permanente announced it would seek, at minimum, LEED Gold certification for new construction of hospitals, large medical offices and other major construction projects. “Kaiser isn’t the only environmentally friendly organization, but it’s a prime example of an organization that is really on the forefront of saying, ‘hey, we operate all of these buildings so we have to be mindful of the resources and energy we use,'” said Mr. Ebers.

For example, Kaiser Permanente announced plans in February to purchase enough renewable energy to replace half of the electricity it currently uses in California under several 20-year contracts. The renewable energy purchases were made as part of a national sustainable energy policy Kaiser Permanente launched in 2012, which encourages strategies to both reduce energy consumption and increase the use of renewable energy sources.

Ramé Hemstreet, who has served as chief energy officer of the system and vice president of operations for its national facility services department for roughly three years, explains the motive behind the organization’s energy pledges. “Climate change is a serious health issue and one of our missions is to improve the health of the communities we operate in,” said Mr. Hemstreet. “To that end, we announced a commitment in 2012 to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent, and these renewable energy deals will help us achieve that goal without having a negative financial effect.”

Under the energy purchase plans, Kaiser Permanente will purchase the green energy output produced from 110 megawatts of solar energy from a solar plant in California’s Riverside County, 43 megawatts of wind power energy produced by a wind turbine farm in Altamont Pass, Calif., and 70 megawatts of onsite solar production from an independent power producer.

The Kaiser Permanente executive said he is not at liberty to share the dollars-per-megawatt-hour cost Kaiser has agreed to pay under the agreements due to the competitive rates the organization was able to procure from the developers. “We don’t have a crystal ball but, suffice it to say, we think the rates we received will be no worse than the avoided costs of the ground power we would have bought,” says Mr. Hemstreet. “In fact, we think that, over the course of the 20-year deals, the purchases will actually save a considerable amount of money.”

Kaiser Permanente is on the National Top 100 list of the largest green power users within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership. It’s an impressive accomplishment but it’s not one every hospital necessarily needs to strive toward; there are many smaller initiatives and projects hospitals and health systems can incorporate into their organizations.

Incorporating Eco-Friendly Concepts Into Hospital Design

For an existing hospital or health system, delving into the world of green energy, sustainable materials and eco-friendly design can be daunting, but new capital projects offer a great opportunity to get started. “From a design process, anytime you are doing a new building or major renovations, you really have a prime opportunity to build in efficiencies — be it efficiencies in energy, water, lighting or other elements,” says Mr. Ebers.

Whether dealing with a brand new construction project or renovations to an existing facility, Mr. Hemstreet offers one way healthcare providers can get started: figure out the energy consumption baseline. “The first thing hospitals can do is start by making everyone aware of their numbers and where they stand in relation to the baseline that the Environmental Protection Agency has for all similar buildings in the U.S.,” says Mr. Hemstreet. “Once you baseline where you are, there are a number of things you can do to improve your performance.”

Ms. Sheehan points out, sometimes the most eco-friendly thing to do is to decide against construction altogether. “If a hospital is really, truly committed to sustainability, we’ll look at lean fundamentals on their programs first and foremost,” she says. “For instance, we’ll ask questions like, ‘Are we building too much?'”

If an evaluation of a hospital’s systems and facilities concludes construction is necessary, the next step is deciding how to incorporate sustainability. For hospitals and health systems building a new or replacement facility, the project is a huge undertaking, but it’s also easier to utilize LEED and other eco-friendly design decisions from the outset. “When you are dealing with new construction and you have to birth the whole facility from the ground up, you’ve got the ability to affect some of the core strategies and the fundamentals of the engineered systems,” says Ms. Sheehan. “When hospitals do renovations, it’s much more of a plug-and-play approach in which you’re just patching in new components as opposed to doing a systemic overhaul.”

For hospitals considering renovations, Mr. Ebers and Ms. Sheehan both suggest looking into occupancy sensors, retrofitted lighting and building automation controls as a few relatively simple changes that yield specific paybacks.

Mr. Ebers and Ms. Sheehan also suggest hospitals work with their utility companies. “A number of utilities around the country are offering major rebates to reduce emissions, and hospitals are a prime candidates because they operate 24/7 and are major energy users within the service sector,” says Mr. Ebers. “For hospitals that have antiquated equipment or are running out of 50-year-old buildings that need upgrading, working with utility companies to replace out-of-date boilers and chillers presents a great opportunity for dramatic energy efficiency gains and cost savings.”

According to Mr. Ebers, utility rebates are an example of external factors that can really drive the financial piece of the sustainability puzzle by decreasing the payback on some efficiency projects from eight years to four or five years.

The Financial Future Of Environmentally Friendly Hospitals

Ultimately, hospitals are becoming more environmentally friendly and sustainable because more healthcare design and construction firms are incorporating those values into their baseline specifications. “Sustainability is no longer the unique attribute; it’s the common statement for what is practice protocol,” says Ms. Sheehan, who also notes sustainable design is going “mainstream” more quickly than she would have expected.

She notes that five years ago, it was thought that the LEED plaque on the wall might be a differentiator in hospital marketing or branding, yet the priority on sustainable design is so intrinsic to hospital design at this point that — plaque or no plaque — it is no longer recognized as unique in the marketplace. “When you see different kinds of providers — including small community hospitals, large healthcare systems and academic medical providers — all talking about the same sustainable design attributes with the same stature and priority, you know this is a major expectation that isn’t just going to be à la carted. It’s not going to be seen as a variable that’s elective anymore.”

Still, there are some challenges on the horizon, including the phase-out of the solar Investment Tax Credit, Mr. Hemstreet points out. “Not to get political, but the one problem every hospital interested in pursuing renewable energy is going to face is the phase-out of the investment tax credit for solar energy in 2016,” says Mr. Hemstreet.

The solar ITC is a 30 percent tax credit for solar systems on residential and commercial properties, which has helped annual solar installation grow by over 1,600 percent since 2006. Under current law, the solar ITC remains in effect through Dec. 31, 2016. “For hospitals looking to pursue renewable energy, the economics are going to change considerably with the expiration of the investment tax credit, so my advice would be to move quickly since time is running out unless Congress expands the current law,” says Mr. Ebers.

Whether hospitals or health systems decide to purchase renewable energy, build with green materials or not invest in sustainable initiatives at all, Mr. Ebers points out that even small changes that don’t cost a thing can make a big impact. “Shutting off the light switch is the best solar panel in the world.”


Source: Becker’s Hospital CFO

Ask Anthony Malkin about LEED and he’ll tell you how he really feels.

The chief executive officer of Empire State Realty Trust thinks the clean air certification for buildings (officially Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a good starting point, but it doesn’t do much for tenants or landlords. Instead, it’s all about keeping energy costs low in buildings with new technologies as opposed to a points system for miniscule things.

“We have a very good adviser who said if you don’t get LEED, it’s going to be very difficult for you to criticize it. So we did,” Mr. Malkin said as a panelist at Commercial Observer’s “Upgrade New York” breakfast last week. “The concept that you get a point for harvesting bamboo in Indonesia, putting it on a boat that stops by Fiji and picks up a bottle of water…Brings it to a port in L.A., which then takes it in a train across the United States and is put on the floor of an office in New York City, and you get a point for that? That’s just freaking absurd.”

His fellow panelists agreed that a new tenant, particularly in the tech sector, wants a building that can keep the energy bills low more than anything. But the strongest comments came from Mr. Malkin, whose revamped his Empire State Building now uses less energy with state-of-the-art measures such as lights that dim when the room is empty or is getting more sunlight, and elevators that reuse energy from their breaks to power upward elevators.

“This is the most efficient building of its size of any age in the United States that’s occupied,” Mr. Malkin said. “We have an energy intensity unit, or energy unit intensity of 72 in this building. The median in New York City is 218. It is no colder, it’s no hotter. It’s no darker. There are no fewer elevators.”

His tenants might not even know the building is LEED certified, which judges how environmentally friendly it is based on the number of points it has for things such as bike racks and emissions. Many technology and emerging companies are more concerned with how much energy a building uses than its ranking on the LEED scale, said co-panelist Sacha Zarba, an executive managing director at CBRE who specializes in tech tenants.

“LEED doesn’t hurt,” said Mr. Zarba, who represented LinkedIn in its leases at the Empire State (it now has 160,000 square feet). “From a tenant perspective, it’s not a box that usually needs to be checked. It’s important to LinkedIn—the energy efficiency and sustainability of a building—but LEED as a word is not.”

View a video of Anthony Malkin, Chief Executive Officer Of Empire State Realty Trust, discussing LEED certification below:


Source: Commercial Observer

Sustainable building and operation practices continue to shift into the mainstream as industry firms embrace the impact green building has on their triple bottom line.

Green-Ranking-Chart - Commercail Real Estate CompaniesAdvances in solar, lighting and water-saving technologies mean payback periods are shorter than ever. While the jury is still out on the exact impact on valuation, institutional investors and funds are hungry for green product. As energy-use benchmarking and organizations like GRESB continue to gain traction, there really is no limit to how green commercial real estate can go.

It is no surprise, then, that the vast majority (all but two) of the respondents to CPE’s 2014 Greenest Companies Survey expect to increase green building activity over the next calendar year. A full quarter of respondents plan to increase their activity by more than 25 percent. And the number of LEED- or otherwise-certified assets increased across the board—dramatically at a number of firms—compared to last year’s results.

Green-Ranking-List - Commercial Real Estate Companies



For the purpose of scoring firms, CPE took into account information that was submitted in narrative form and balanced that against weighted scoring of categories having to do with dedicated personnel, industry specializations, levels of current and planned LEED certifications and announced plans for 2015 and beyond. Service providers, which are viewed as catalyzing agents in the greening of commercial real estate, were ranked against each other using the same criteria. Because as catalysts they have less of a direct impact on the environment than building owners do, CPE oriented them to the middle of the list. To be included in upcoming surveys, contact Mike Ratliff at


Source: Commercial Property Executive

For the second consecutive year, the Miami HEAT has challenged Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) to find innovative ways to reduce energy consumption at each campus.

Through the greening initiative titled “How Low Can You Go?” the team is enticing the schools to raise environmental awareness of CO2 emissions and educate the facilities about potential financial savings through responsible energy consumption. As an industry leader in greening efforts, the HEAT will reward the winning school with on-court recognition during Sunday’s Detroit Pistons versus HEAT game. Second and Third Place schools will also receive honorable mentions during the game.

Out of the 82 BCPS that registered for the “How Low Can You Go?” challenge, 63 schools reduced their kilowatt consumption by a total of 1,501,957 kilowatt hours resulting in a savings of $143,587. The “How Low Can You Go?” challenge was spearheaded by BCPS physical education teacher, Linda Gancitano. Gancitano was recently named a White House Climate Education on Literacy “Champion of Change” for enhancing climate education at Driftwood Middle School Academy of Health and Wellness and throughout the BCPS district.

This collaboration is part of NBA Green Week 2015, which takes place from March 22nd through March 29thand leverages the combined weight of the league, teams, players and partners to generate awareness and raise funds in support of environmental protect

The HEAT and AmericanAirlines Arena continue to blaze a trail for best greening practices and industry firsts. In November 2014, the Arena was awarded LEED Gold Recertification by the U.S. Green Building Council—the first sports and entertainment arena in the world to receive the prestigious honor. AmericanAirlines Arena’s green features include solar reflective roofing materials, reduced energy consumption, water efficient landscaping as well as paper and plastic bottle recycling among others.

In November 2015, AmericanAirlines Arena will unveil an elegant, energy efficient solar pavilion as part of a multi-year clean energy partnership with NRG. The solar pavilion will transform the Arena’s East Plaza, an uncovered and under-utilized outdoor space, bringing the in-arena experience outside where the views of Biscayne Bay and the Port of Miami are absolutely stunning.

Other green initiatives in which the HEAT has participated include HEAT Beach Sweep, an annual effort to help preserve South Florida’s environment and Re-HEAT, where unused food from all Miami HEAT home games is redistributed to local homeless assistance programs. HEAT Beach Sweep, now in its sixth year, is presented by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami and Re-HEAT, in its seventh season, has donated more than 33,000 pounds of food to the Miami Rescue Mission and the Chapman Partnership with the assistance of presenting partner, C1 Bank and supporting partner, Levy Cares.



Facing pressure to manage costs, risks and energy consumption, commercial building owners and investors are exploring how smart building technologies can help a company’s triple bottom line—people, planet, profits.

Five key trends are making smart buildings a “no-brainer” for commercial property owners and investors, according to Jones Lang LaSalle’s latest report, The Changing Face of Smart Buildings: The Op-Ex Advantage. “Commercial and public property owners are looking to smart building technology to boost operational efficiency, achieve energy savings, improve capital planning and reduce their carbon footprints,” says Dan Probst, JLL’s chairman of Energy and Sustainability Services. “These advantages, combined with tenant preferences for smart building features, provide a competitive edge for owners and investors.”

Five Reasons For Smart Building Investment

The report, which details the landscape for smart building technology, identifies five major trends:

1. Rapid Return On Investment
Smart building technology investments typically pay for themselves within one or two years by delivering energy savings and other operational efficiencies. Also driving the fast payback is the low cost of automated building technology, which has fallen as adaptation has increased. For example, intelligent lighting components that cost $120 four years ago today sell for just $50. Procter & Gamble’s building management pilot program, for example, generated a positive return on investment in just three months.

2. Operating-Expense Advantage
Relative to other energy-related building upgrades, smart building technology requires little upfront capital expenditure (cap-ex), while delivering significantly reduced operational expenditures (op-ex). Using automated systems, smart buildings generally cost less to operate  than buildings operating solely on legacy systems, therefore offering a long-term op-ex advantage. By combining smart building systems and data analytics with facilities management, a smart building management system can detect and resolve building issues before equipment failures and capital expenditures ensue. Additionally, operational and energy savings begin shortly after the smart building management system is implemented.

3. Marketing Mileage
As reported in JLL’s October 2012 “Global Sustainability Perspective,” numerous studies and surveys have demonstrated that tenants and their advisors increasingly expect smart building features such as zoned HVAC, sophisticated equipment maintenance alert systems, advanced security systems and “green” buildings. Like a new lobby or elevator bank, an improvement in sustainability makes an office building more desirable to tenants. These benefits can justify collecting higher rent and can increase competitive advantage and occupancy rates. And when the building is sold, sustainable investments can be recouped in an increased sales price. In fact, a 2011 study by Eichholtz, Kok and Quigley indicated the premium for LEED-certified or ENERGY STAR-labeled buildings is approximately 13%.

4. Energy Savings
Smart building technology can generate energy savings of 8% to 15% annually almost immediately after deployment, with the potential for incremental improvements over time. A 2012 report by the Rockefeller Foundation and Deutsche Bank Group’s DB Climate Change Advisors estimates that $289 billion in building efficiency investment would produce savings in excess of $1 trillion in the US alone, with every dollar invested in energy efficiency producing three dollars of operational savings.

5. Improved Corporate Social Responsibility Profile
Redirecting energy spend to building efficiency has allowed some corporate decision-makers to gain the reputational advantages of doing the right thing by the environment while also gaining significant performance and productivity improvements. Another benefit is a smart building system’s ability to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions. Some owners feed building emissions data to multiple benchmarking organizations, such as Greenprint and GRESB, as well as to Ceres and similar third-party reporting organizations, and smart systems can roll up the information from across a portfolio.


Source: GlobeSt