Green buildings are becoming ever more present. The number of green structures that have popped up around the world have grown significantly in the last decade. Initially, building green can be more expensive upfront (materials, meeting LEED standards, etc.) but the payoff in the long term is proving to be substantial. Not to mention good for the environment as well.
According to Triple Pundit, green buildings have a higher market value because they are in demand, operate more cost-effectively, thus commanding higher rents. Likewise, they have 3.5% lower vacancy rates and 13% higher rents than standard buildings.
A recent survey by Deloitte Consulting showed that companies that work in green buildings saw an increase in productivity which in turn showed economic profit. According to the survey:
- 100% reported increased employee goodwill;
- 93% reported a greater ability to attract talent;
- 87% saw improved workforce productivity;
- 81% saw greater employee retention; and,
- 75% saw improved employee health (thus fewer sick days).
LEED: An acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. A green-building certification program developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The LEED rating system offers four certification levels for new construction — Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum — each corresponding to a certain number of credits earned in green-design categories.
The LEED Rating System by Points:
There are 100 possible points distributed across five major credit categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, plus an additional 6 points for Innovation in Design and an additional 4 points for Regional Priority. Buildings can qualify for four levels of certification:
- Certified: 40–49 points
- Silver: 50–59 points
- Gold: 60–79 points
- Platinum: 80 points and above
Eleven years after the 9/11 attacks, the World Trade Center rebuilding process is in full swing. The new WTC buildings will feature plenty of sustainable attributes that maximize energy efficiency, reduce waste and improve quality of life.
According to the official World Trade Center website, World Trade Center Towers 2, 3 & 4 are striving to achieve a U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification, as well as meet other Sustainable Design Guidelines and goals.
The buildings will also include the following green design features:
- WTC 2, 3 & 4 will offer tenants the ability to provide direct daylight and outside views for more than 90% of their regularly occupied space.
- Full-height low-iron glass will allow tenants to reduce energy costs by installing daylight dimming controls.
- A high percentage of WTC 2, 3 & 4’s core-and-shell electricity needs will come from renewable energy.
- In a typical business year, electricity costs at WTC 2, 3 & 4 will be approximately 35% lower than in a generic Manhattan office building, due in part to a power purchase agreement with New York Power Authority.
- Environmental innovations at WTC 2, 3 & 4 exceed traditional office buildings, such as: Continue reading
Starbucks has set out to conquer some lofty green goals, and according to their latest sustainability report, they are well on their way. Included in those goals is to have most, if not all, future company-owned stores be LEED-certified and eco-friendly.
A recent Starbucks that went up in Tukwila, Washington may be its greenest store to date. Dubbed the Reclamation Drive-Thru, the store is built entirely out of upcycled shipping containers.
According to the Starbucks blog, Reclamation Drive-Thru was inspired by “A desire to help keep items used throughout our supply chain, like old shipping containers, out of the waste stream. The result: a 450 square foot drive-thru and walk-up store made from four end-of-life-cycle shipping containers. One small 20-foot container holds garbage, recycling and storage, but other than that, the whole store is contained within the shells of four containers that have been reclaimed, refurnished, renewed and revived.”
Starbucks wants you to enjoy a (fair trade) double espresso in the comforts of a LEED certified building that uses less electricity — and then to recycle your cup in a conveniently placed recycle bin. Or better yet, bring your own cup.
These are some of the goals Starbucks hopes to achieve with its annual Global Responsibility Report. Triple Pundit breaks down the green goals the coffee giant reached in 2011 and where they hope to be in the coming years.
- In 2011, customers used personal cups more than 34 million times, almost 2% of all beverages served in global company-owned stores. The goal is to serve 5% of its beverages made in its stores in personal cups by 2015.
- Since 2008, the company has held several Cup Summits to develop recyclable cups. By 2015 the goal is to serve 25% of all beverages in reusable cups.
- The company implemented front-of-store recycling to over 1,000 of its company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada, totaling 18% of all its stores in North America. The goal is to have front-of-store recycling in all company-owned locations by 2015.
- A total 79% (over 2,400) of its company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada recycled cardboard boxes and other back-of-store items. Continue reading
Shopping for sustainable home-building products just got a whole lot easier. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), in conjunction with The Home Depot®, has launched an online green home products database.
The database: leed.homedepot.com is a microsite within homedepot.com that features products geared toward green home building, many of which may contribute towards earning LEED® points and prerequisites for the LEED for Homes program, making it easier for homeowners and builders to find the products they need. Currently, more than 2,500 products sold at The Home Depot are listed on the website. Continue reading
According to the LA Times, Century City skyscraper Constellation Place, the first LEED® certified office building in LA, recently became the first Los Angeles high-rise to be served by electricity-generating fuel cells.
What exactly do these fuel cells do? The cells convert air and fuel into electricity which in turn will save the 35-story building about a third of its energy use as well as reduce emissions by 30%. That’s a pretty big deal for an 800,000 square foot building.
Landlords JMB Realty installed two Bloom Energy Servers, each around the size of a parking space, to generate the fuel cells. “These servers, combined with the existing photovoltaic system, enable JMB to offer its tenants a greener office environment while generating significant savings,” Sarah Shaw of JMB said. Continue reading