Archive for category: EnergyStar

The Practical Side of Sustainability – (Part Two)

This article first published as The Practical Side of Sustainability on Technorati.

The reality of the “green” or sustainable building movement, at least in the world of commercial real estate, is that it is relatively very small and not growing at a significant rate.   The U.S. Green Building Council (www.usgbc.org) estimates that 2% of all new building construction projects receive LEED certification.  Existing buildings greatly outnumber newly-constructed ones, especially given the current economic market.  There are many good reasons to go green, but in the real world – the one in which we all live – there are significant practical reasons why building sustainability is stalling.

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The Practical Side of Sustainability – (Part One)

Many professionals tout sustainability and “green” practices as being here and now.  LEED building certifications seem to gain a lot of press these days, and architects and engineers line up to become LEED-certified professionals.  Webinars, seminars, publications abound with the latest information about green lease provisions, green construction terms, etc.  This author receives, almost daily, emails and flyers with notifications of upcoming events and publications which feature green topics.  But in reality, the number of green/sustainable buildings is relatively very small and not growing at a significant rate.   The U.S. Green Building Council (www.usgbc.org) estimates that 2% of all new building construction projects receive LEED certification.  While there are many good reasons to go green, in the real world – the one in which we all live – there are significant practical reasons why building sustainability is stalling.

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A Sustainable Motivation to Go Green

The owners of the Empire State Building are investing $20 million in an effort to reduce the building’s energy use by 38 percent.  All of the landmark’s 6,514 windows are being remanufactured, on site, to be reused as energy efficient replacements on the 79 year-old structure.  All in all, this retrofit of an American icon is easily the most visible effort to “go green” in present memory.  Darius Dixon, How to Get Prompt Payback From an Aging Icon That Guzzles Energy.

Amazingly, the Empire State Building consumes as much electricity as 40,000 single family homes each day.  Given the number of high rise office buildings in New York City, and the estimation that 85% of its current buildings will be standing in 25 years, there is plenty of reason to focus on retrofits.  And New York City is not alone in that respect – I would venture to guess that a substantial number of existing buildings in most major cities and a lot of smaller cities will be standing for many years to come.

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