July Green News Roundup

Wirtz Realty, MB Real Estate Team Up for Retrofit Chicago

Wirtz Realty and MB Real Estate have teamed to launch sustainability initiatives at 333 North Michigan Avenue as part of Retrofit Chicago. The Commercial Buildings Initiative, launched by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, includes 14 buildings totaling more than 14 million sq. ft. and aims to achieve energy cost savings exceeding $5 million per year. Participating buildings in the initiative can expect to reduce energy use by 20 percent within the next five years and will begin work within six months and share best practices.

Multiple conservation upgrades are being planned for the Art Deco skyscraper, including a new energy management system, a partial replacement of HVAC mechanical equipment and energy-efficient lighting. The building, located at the prized Chicago intersection of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1997. The 35-story, 362,757-sq.-ft. building, completed in 1928, is architecturally noted for its dramatic upper level setbacks and as one of the four flanks of the Michigan Avenue Bridge.

Detroit Approves $648,000 in SmartBuildings Detroit Matching Grants

The Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit has approved $648,000 in SmartBuildings Detroit matching grants to make energy-saving improvements at Cobo Arena, Cobo parking garage, Wayne State University, Grand Trunk Pub and Charles Condominiums.

The set of grants is expected to leverage $3.76 million in additional investments from the building owners and other sources for a total of $4.4 million in energy-saving improvements, which include insulation and HVAC upgrades, weatherization, alternative energy systems, low-flow water/plumbing and LED lighting and motion-detector controls.

Post Brothers’ Rittenhouse Hill Is Greenest Multifamily in Philadelphia

Post Brothers’ Rittenhouse Hill, the single largest residential complex being built in Philadelphia currently, will be using 100 percent wind-generated power, making it the first residential project of its size in Philadelphia to use wind as the sole energy source. The 470,000-sq.-ft. complex at 633 W. Rittenhouse St. will have 624 apartments once it’s completed by early 2014.

Through wind power and other green initiatives, Post Brothers aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 50.5 million pounds, translating to a savings of 2.6 million gallons of gas each year, equating to the removal of 4,432 cars from the road annually. Post Brothers is also installing electric car-charging stations.

Richard J. Daley Center Achieves LEED Silver

The Richard J. Daley Center at 50. W. Washington in Chicago has achieved LEED Silver certification.

The 1.5-million-sq.-ft. building, owned and operated by the Public Building Commission, is Chicago’s largest municipally owned LEED for Existing Buildings Operation and Maintenance property. MB Real Estate, the building’s manager, achieved the certification over a year-long period. Efficiency modifications, including a no-cost climate-control initiatives that saved more than $500,000 in electricity costs in 2009, earned the property several Energy Star designations. Modifications in the building’s lighting system resulting in a 54 percent reduction of electricity usage and modifications to the building’s 417-restroom plumbing system achieved a 70 percent reduction of water usage.

Regency Centers to Develop 280,000-SF LEED Shopping Center in Seattle

Regency Centers is set to begin construction of Grand Ridge Plaza, a 280,113-sq.-ft. LEED-certified shopping center on 24.58 acres, in the center of Issaquah Highlands, a master-planned community east of downtown Seattle. Issaquah Highlands will include up to 4,540 homes, 3 million sq. ft. of commercial space and 1,500 acres of parks and trails. Grand Ridge Plaza will be the only major retail center to serve the community and will draw shoppers from throughout the region.

The project—a 280,112-sq.-ft. open-air, pedestrian-friendly center featuring a 44,543-sq.-ft. Safeway and 56,820-sq.-ft., 12-screen Regals Cinemas, will incorporate a variety of green building strategies, including LEED certification.

Israel Berger, Viridian Energy Renamed Vidaris Inc.

Israel Berger & Associates and Viridian Energy & Environmental have combined operations to form Vidaris Inc. The firm will focus on servicing a niche marketplace for specialty consultancies and offer holistic consulting and monitoring services for high-performance buildings in all real estate market sectors. Headquartered in New York City, Vidaris employs approximately 125 employees located in four offices in California, Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts.

PREI Opens New Sustainable HQ in Madison, N.J.

Prudential Real Estate Investors has relocated its corporate headquarters from Parsippany, N.J. to an energy-efficient space at 7 Giralda Farms in Madison, N.J. The new space provides an open floor plan and easy access to New York City from nearby Convent Station as well as an employee shuttle, cafeteria and exercise facility. PREI is seeking LEED Platinum certification for the space, in keeping with its socially responsible investment policy adopted in 2011.

LEED Gold-Certified 545 Madison Ave. Continues Attracting Tenants

At 545 Madison Avenue, strong leasing momentum continues with the building now more than 80 percent leased. The 17-story, 140,000-sq.-ft. office/retail building has been redeveloped as a LEED Gold-certified class-A tower by LCOR.

Spaces at 545 Madison Avenue, located on the corner of 55th Street in the Plaza District, range from 6,877 to 9,282 sq. ft. Tenants have the option of customizable or pre-built space; the building offers hotel amenities, private terraces and state-of-the-art mechanical and electrical systems.

Tenants include Cliffwater LLC, BHR Capital LLC, RNK Capital, Siemens Enterprise Communications and the Home Shopping Network, as well as retailers Alfred Dunhill, Oscar Blandi and Officine Panerai. Most recently, a family trust and real estate management firm signed a 27,000-sq.ft. lease for the building’s fourth, fifth and sixth floors. CBRE represented the family trust, which is known for its luxury properties, in the 10-year lease.

Solar Power Technologies Clarity System Is Live at N.J. Oak Solar Project

Solar Power Technologies, an Austin, Texas-based intelligent monitoring and optimization company for large-scale solar arrays, is now operating its Clarity system at Lincoln Renewable Energy’s 12.5MW New Jersey Oak Solar plant.

The project, located in Fairfield Township in Cumberland, N.J., is the largest non-utility-owned solar project east of the Mississippi River and is one of the most advanced solar power plants in the U.S.

Boys and Girls Club HQ, Atlanta, Achieves Energy Star

The Boys and Girls Clubs of America Headquarters in Atlanta has been awarded Energy Star designation. The six-story, 143,000-sq.-ft. building, located at 1275 Peachtree Street, is one of more than 6 million sq. ft. of Energy Star-designated buildings managed in Atlanta by Cassidy Turley.

LEED for Homes Surpasses 20,000 Certified Home Milestone

More than 20,000 multifamily and single-family homes across the U.S. have earned certification through LEED for Homes since the program was founded in 2008, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. The collection of LEED-certified homes includes homes ranging from market rate to affordable housing. An additional 79,000 units are currently in the pipeline.

Green homes are expected to grow to between 29 percent and 38 percent of the residential construction market by 2016, equating $87 to $114 billion, according to a 2012 McGraw Hill Construction study.

Pacific Guardian Center Is LEED Certified

Pacific Guardian Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, has earned LEED Silver certification. The facility achieved a perfect Energy Star Score of 100 out of 100 possible points. The building has also implemented a green cleaning policy and water-efficiency measures, diverted the property’s electronic equipment solid waste from local landfill, achieved a 26 percent overall recycling rate, demonstrated a 30 percent reduction in conventional commuting trips and documented that 69 percent of all single workstations and 75 percent of all multi-occupant workstations contain individual lighting controls and that 70 percent of the spaces provide a direct line of sight to exterior views.

Tishman International Affiliates with Bulgarian Green Building Council

Tishman International Companies has joined the Bulgarian Green Building Council (BGBC), a non-governmental organization that supports the European Union’s sustainable development policy. Tishman’s BGBC membership will help the nonprofit’s efforts to foster sustainable construction throughout Bulgaria. One critical project is to develop a national certification system for high-performing sustainable buildings. To that end, Tishman will offer tours of Sofia Airport Center, a mixed-use development that includes Bulgaria’s first LEED-certified commercial office building.

SL Green Upgrades LED Lighting Through 21 Properties

SL Green Realty Corp. is installing LED lighting throughout 21 of its properties and expects to save more than $630,000 in annual energy use. The retrofit will be one of the nation’s largest, with more than 16,000 units replacing antiquated lighting technologies. The project, which utilizes the products of Seesmart Technologies, a manufacturer of LED based in Simi Valley, Calif., is expected to yield a project payback of three years, providing $4.5 million in total lifecycle savings.

Nexus EnergyHomes to Build Philadelphia’s First Net-Zero Residences

Nexus Foundry Court will be downtown Philadelphia’s first net-zero townhomes. The project consists of five lots located at Fourth and Brown Streets in Northern Liberties. Each home will be built to Emerald Certification standards as set out by the National Association of Homebuilders, and will be Net-Zero, capable of generating as much energy as they use.

Principal Solar Appoints Innovators to Advisory Board

Principal Solar, a Dallas-based publicly traded solar energy holding company, has appointed three nationally recognized business leaders to its advisory board: Erle Nye, chairman emeritus of TXU Corp., an electric utility; James W. Keyes, current chairman of Key Development LLC, former CEO and chairman of Blockbuster Inc., and former 7-Eleven President and CEO; and Jim Young, consultant, speaker and leadership veteran at EDS, a multinational IT equipment and services company, where he oversaw the JASON Project, the world’s premier distance learning program.

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