Posts Tagged ‘LEED certification’

Richard M. Daley Remade the Face of Chicago – Despite Controversy

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Whether you loved him or hated him, Mayor Richard M. Daley left an indelible mark on Chicago’s landscape.  Richard M. Daley dropped a bombshell on Chicago with his announcement that – after serving as mayor for 21 years, longer than his father Richard J. Daley – he would not seek an unprecedented seventh term.  As citizens and pundits pondered the reasoning behind the decision and political hopefuls immediately started jockeying to be his replacement, the Chicago Tribune‘s architectural critic Blair Kamin wrote that the mayor “changed the face of his city as well as its tired Rust Belt image.”

According to Kamin, Daley “was the Boss and the Builder – a democratically elected king who could remake vast swaths of the city at will.  He ruled with an iron fist and a green thumb, and he often used the power of the former to carry out the agenda of the latter.”  Daley’s legacy includes planting more than 600,000 trees, building more than 85 miles of landscaped medians and building more than 7,000,000 SF of green roofs.  Public construction of schools, police stations and firehouses are designed with energy-saving LEED standards.  “All that greenery was simply the beginning of Daley’s efforts to transform Chicago from a City Functional, where utilitarian concerns were paramount, into a City Beautiful, where quality of life issues carried equal weight,” Kamin wrote.  “Indeed, Daley’s long tenure – and his unchallenged grip on power – allowed him to take urban design risks that other mayors, nervously contemplating the next election, would be too timid to try.”

Other important public works projects carried out by the Daley administration include the de-malling of the State Street bus corridor; the renovation of Navy Pier into a tourist mecca; the construction of Millennium Park over an unsightly rail yard; the creation of the Museum Campus along the lakefront; and the controversial overhaul of Soldier Field – a move that deprived the stadium of its National Historic Landmark status.

“Daley’s style of operating often seemed to come straight from the playbook of Robert Moses, the all-powerful, mid-20th Century New York ‘master builder.’  Moses believed it was better to get things done now and apologize to his critics later,” according to Kamin.  “Yet Daley rarely apologized, earning him a reputation for arrogance as well as boldness.  Outside Chicago, his high-handedness didn’t cost him.  Within the city, it bred deep resentment, particularly when the economy turned sour.”

As someone who arrived in Chicago when Daley came to power, I saw first hand the transformation of our city into a world-class metropolis.  The redevelopment and architectural boldness did much more than re-inscribe our physical environment – it made the city cosmopolitan and multi-cultural, a focus for exciting ideas and a largeness of spirit, which still surprises people who travel here.  Daley leaves a legacy.

Distribution, Manufacturing Facilities Are Going Green

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Home Depot, NCR are greening their companies.  Home Depot, NCR are greening their companies. Fortune 500 companies are increasingly using energy-saving measures in their corporate real estate.  Some firms are retrofitting warehouses to conserve energy or are applying Japanese principles to building design and operation.

Home Depot, for example, has 2,245 retail stores comprising 235 million SF nationally, owns 89 percent of its real estate and is working to reduce its energy consumption.  In 2004, energy use for stores was approximately 25 kWh per square foot.  Today, energy consumption is just 21 kWh per square foot, a 16 percent reduction.

Since 2004, energy use has been cut by 2.6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), enough to power 203,000 homes for a full year.  Home Depot’s objective is to reach a 20 percent reduction in kWh per square foot in U.S. locations by 2015.  The company also plans to cut its domestic supply chain greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 20 percent by 2015.

Yet another example is NCR Corporation, which used Japanese “lean” practices at its new 350,000 SF plant in Norcross, GA, where it manufactures ATMs.  The technique eliminates waste and streamlines production processes.  Because NCR recycled cinder blocks and carpeting at the facility, it is seeking LEED certification on the retrofitted building.  Additionally, NCR produces cash registers that use two-sided receipt printers that cut paper usage by as much as 45 percent and use less power.

Converting the plant to make it energy efficient was not easy, according to Beth McClurg, NCR’s director of corporate real estate, who notes that “It is taking extra cost to do, which may not have immediate payback in terms of our financials, but because of the importance, we’re proceeding and hope to have LEED certification soon.”

Landmark Study Finds Increased Productivity, Lower Vacancy and Higher Rents in Green Buildings

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Study concludes that green buildings are healthier for employees.  A new study conducted by the University of San Diego and CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. (CBRE) has found that tenants in green buildings experience fewer sick days and have increased productivity.  Furthermore, researchers determined that green buildings have higher rental rates and lower vacancies.

Overseen by Dr. Norm Miller of the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, the “Do Green Buildings Make Dollars and Sense?” study took a year to complete and is the largest study of its kind to date.  The research was conducted in collaboration with Dave Pogue, CBRE’s national director of sustainability, and Ray Wong, CBRE’s director of Americas research.

The study determined that tenants in green buildings are more productive based on two measures — the average number of tenant sick days and the self-reported productivity change.  Study respondents reported an average of 2.88 fewer sick days in their current green office compared to their previous non-green office.  The research additionally showed that green buildings have 13 percent higher rental rates and 3.5 percent lower vacancy rates than the market.

Pogue comments, “The results of this project are beginning to demonstrate the very real and positive impact of sustainable buildings for both our owners and tenant occupants.  We have been seeking ways to make an empirical case for the economic benefits of sustainable practices and the results of this study exceeded our expectations.”  For its findings, CBRE and the University of San Diego surveyed more than 150 buildings under CBRE management.  Researchers defined a green building as those with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification at any level or those that bear the EPA ENERGY STAR label.

It’s Easy Being Green

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Buildings as old as 100 years now can attain coveted LEED certification, courtesy of the innovative LEED Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) program.  According to an article in the April, 2008, issue of Midwest Real Estate News, green design has become a given in commercial construction.  Now, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has extended the designation to older buildings, as well as new.

Because the current commercial inventory includes so much existing product – more space is in existence than is anticipated to be delivered over the next 20 years — the USGBC is promoting its LEED-EB designation as a primary initiative.  “Between now and 2030, it is estimated that there will be 150 billion SF of existing space in the U.S. and 450 billion SF worldwide,” said Hill Burgess, a director at Darien, IL-based Wight and Company.  “There is a bigger shoeprint of existing space.”

Achieving LEED-EB status requires updating obsolete energy-management systems; using earth-friendly cleaning supplies; relying on natural daylight as much as possible; adding bike racks to encourage low-impact commutes; and replacing florescent lighting fixtures with more efficient, cleaner substitutes.  The road to green with existing space requires altering practices rather than making structural or design improvements.  Achieving LEED-EB status also involves an ongoing commitment by the company to continuing the process.

Additionally, cleaning company or waste-management services may need to alter their routines to comply with LEED ethics.  Because relatively few building owners are presently applying for this accreditation, vendors tend to lack incentive to make the necessary changes.

According to Mark Bettin, Vice President of Engineering at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, “Sub-metering of electrical use is one of the most important pieces of the process to enable large, older buildings to gain LEED-EB certification.  By breaking down energy consumption to an individual scale, tenants can see how their energy use affects the building as a whole.

“Sub-metering is important because it will allow tenants to see the results of energy use,” Bettin said.  “A lot of buildings have master meters that don’t break down individual use.”