December’s Green News Roundup

Via Verde Affordable Housing Complex Wins ULI Award

Via Verde, a green, affordable housing project that opened last summer, has won the Urban Land Institute’s Workforce Housing Model of Excellence Award—one of only three projects nationwide to receive this honor. The facility is located at 700-706 Brook Avenue at 156th Street in the Melrose section of The Bronx in New York City.

A 222-unit, eco-friendly affordable housing development, Via Verde was co-developed by Jonathan Rose Companies and Phipps Housing and constructed by general contractor Lettire Construction Corporation. Lettire, which specializes in building affordable and supportive housing that is green and sustainable, also utilized eco-friendly best building practices.

The state-of-the-art, healthy lifestyle-focused development earned LEED NC Gold certification and aims to create a path for future affordable housing projects. It features details, finishes and amenities usually reserved for high-end buildings. Via Verde consists of 71 cooperative homes and 151 rentals. Its sustainable features include spacious floor-plans, luxury kitchens with bamboo cabinets, Caesar stone countertops, non-toxic and low-VOC materials, solar panel-powered common areas, a fitness center boasting a green roof area, Energy Star appliances, an attended lobby, bicycle storage and a landscaped courtyard including a playground and amphitheater. Its highlight is its series of green roofs, including a pine tree orchard, apple and pear tree orchard and gardening beds for residents to grow organic vegetables.

New LEED Gold Main Exchange Complex at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

A joint venture by construction firms Brasfield & Gorrie and Walbridge has completed a new LEED Gold-certified Main Exchange Complex at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. The Main Exchange Complex, designed by CMH Architects, is both the first LEED-certified exchange in the U.S. and the largest Navy Exchange in Washington, D.C. The 151,450-sq.-ft., $42 million facility serves the retail and personal needs of active duty, wounded warriors, reserve and retired military personnel. It includes an on-grade parking lot; elevated 100,000-sq.-ft., one-story parking structure; site utilities; roadways; pharmacy; barbershop; beauty salon; clothing and jewelry retailers; food court; dry cleaner and uniform center. A green roof will eventually cover the majority of the facility.

Mack-Cali Business Campus Goes LEED Silver

Mack-Cali Realty Corporation’s business campus at 8 Campus Drive in Parsippany, N.J. has earned LEED Silver certification, along with the firm’s 106 Allen Road in Bernards Township, comprising two of only four multitenant buildings in New Jersey to earn this status. Highlights of the buildings’ sustainability achievements include an Energy Star rating of 88, highly-efficient plumbing fixtures cutting water usage by 17 percent, a new irrigation system providing 62 percent reduction in water use, recycling efforts achieving a 68 percent landfill diversion rate and a 100 percent durable goods waste stream diversion rate, non-toxic pest management and a green cleaning program.

KCI Intermodal Business Centre Earns LEED Silver Certification

KCI Intermodal Business Centre, a 349,440-sq.-ft. regional distribution center in Kansas City, Mo., has earned LEED Silver certification. The building is the first to be erected at the 800-acre business park being developed by Trammell Crow Co. and Clarion Partners and built by Contegra Construction Co. Portland, Ore.-based Blount International is using the building as its primary distribution for North American operations. The single-story, tilt-up concrete structure features 32-ft. clear-height ceilings and a cross-dock configuration with column spacing for bays. Designed as a built-to-suit, multitenant building that can be expanded to 988,000 sq. ft. on its 22.54-acre site, the facility is supported by 11,755 sq. ft. of office finish, parking for 180 vehicles and 40 remote trailer parking stalls.

KONE Centre Earns LEED Platinum

The new nearly $40 million, 125,000-sq.ft. KONE Centre in Moline, Ill. has earned LEED-CS Platinum certification. The eight-story building, which opened last August is the first and only building in Illinois to achieve this designation. In addition, floors five through seven, approximately 45,000 sq. ft., earned LEED-CI Gold. The building features bamboo paneling in the lobby, 98 percent of the space with daylight views and solar panels on the adjacent parking garage which will produce 321,000 kW annually, among other green amenities. Financial District Properties served as developer, with Ryan Companies U.S. Inc. as builder and HOK Architects as designer.

La Jolla Commons Is Largest Net-Zero Energy Office Building in U.S.

The 13-story, 415,000-sq.-ft. La Jolla Commons in San Diego will become the nation’s largest carbon-neutral office building to date. The new building will achieve carbon neutrality through high-performance design, directed biogas and on-site fuel cells that annually will generate more electricity than the building and its tenant will use. The building will be fully leased and occupied by LPL Financial LLC and is being developed by Hines and institutional investors advised by JP Morgan Asset Management. Construction began last April and is scheduled for completion in mid-2014. The building incorporates an under-floor air system, advanced curtain walls and fuel cells acquired from Bloom Energy that will generate 5 million KWh of electricity per year, roughly the equivalent of powering 1,000 San Diego homes. Sufficient methane for the system will be acquired from carbon-neutral sources like landfills and wastewater plants and placed into the national natural gas pipeline system.

USGBC Receives Google Grant to Catalyze Building Materials and Indoor Health

The U.S. Green Building Council has won a $3 million grant from Google to catalyze the transformation of the building materials industry and accelerate the creation of healthier indoor environments. The grant will focus on three areas: Supporting research on building materials and heath, developing new transparency tools and engaging stakeholders from across the industry. The new initiatives will be developed over the next two years.

Ygrene Energy, FNF Green Partner to Accelerate Energy Upgrade Financing

Ygrene Energy Fund, a provider of clean energy finance programs for local governments, has partnered with FNF Green LLC, the environmental branch of Fidelity National Financial Inc. Under the partnership, FNF Green will power the Ygrene Data Report, an automated, web-based administrative platform that qualifies property owners for Ygrene’s energy upgrade financing programs quickly. The partnership aims to create the fastest energy upgrade financing process available and greatly expand access to such financing. Each $100 million invested in Ygrene energy upgrade financing programs creates 1,500 jobs and $250 million in economic activity, according to the firm.

Coral Gables Office/Retail Complex Goes LEED Gold

The 163,000-sq.-ft. North Tower at 396 Alhambra in Coral Gables, Fla., has earned LEED Gold certification and becomes the first building in that city to achieve this distinction. The complex at 396 Alhambra features water and energy efficiency systems; a storm water management system; recycled construction waste and locally-sourced new materials; and a trolley system, among other green amenities. Designed by the Fullerton Group and constructed by Balfour Beatty, the building boasts Spanish-influenced architecture and marble from the original quarry for the Alhambra palace in Spain. Its flexible floor plates range from 8,950 to 31,000 sq. ft.

Century City Shopping Center Gains 765-KWH Solar Installation

A partnership between Westfield and Martifer Solar USA Inc., brokered by Alta Energy, has brought about the design of a 765-kW rooftop photovoltaic solar system for Westfield Century City shopping center in Los Angeles, generating over 1.1 million kWh annually. The system will reduce Westfield’s energy consumption and costs and will be the sixth photovoltaic system that Westfield has installed. Construction will begin on the project in early 2013 and will be fully operational by the end of the year.

Reznick Capital Markets Securities announced completion of advisory services for three major northeast solar projects, reflecting the group’s growing profile in renewable energy structuring and negotiations. The projects are a 5.702-megawatt installation in Massachusetts, where three municipalities jointly purchased energy from a ground-mount installation; an 8.146-megawat net metering project at the New Jersey properties of a national food distributor; and a 12.820-megawatt portfolio of solar-distributed generation projects with Long Island Power Authority.

Half Moon Ventures Unveils Huge Solar Project in Yonkers

Half Moon Ventures LLC, a Chicago-based solar and wind project developer, unveiled its first solar electric power generation system in New York State on the roof of i.Park Hudson in Yonkers, N.Y. The installation, which blankets as much square footage of rooftop as two professional football fields, is one of the largest in New York State, and will generate significant energy for tenants in the 24-acre technology, office and industrial complex in downtown Yonkers.

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