Archive for January, 2010

Green classes on campus heating up

January 29, 2010

Posted by:
Bob Best
Investor Services Lead
United States
Energy and Sustainability Services

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that American colleges are responding to student interest in sustainability by adding green courses at a “brisk” pace.

“Some professors compare it with the boom in information technology during the 1980s, while others liken the phenomenon to interest in the civil-rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s.” the Union-Tribune reports.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education estimates that about 100 new undergraduate programs in sustainability were created last year, and in May a 625-member group of university president published a report to help colleges incorporate sustainability into their curricula.

One force behind the trend is real estate.  As more colleges build sustainability into their own facilities and on-campus programs (e.g. recycling, solar panels, lighting retrofits), students are noticing and asking to learn more about these initiatives.  Since buildings represent about 40% of energy consumption, it’s logical that many of these new courses will focus on the real estate aspects of sustainability in areas like architecture and buildings systems.

Keeping Up with Building Energy Laws

January 26, 2010

Dan Probst - Jones Lang LaSalle

Dan Probst
Global Lead
United States
Energy and Sustainability Services

The pace of U.S. states and cities rolling out legislation on commercial building energy and sustainability standards has accelerated recently. A few high-profile examples:

 ·         The San Francisco Task Force on Existing Commercial Buildings has recommended that Mayor Newsom introduce legislation requiring energy benchmarking in buildings larger than 25,000 square feet and tenant sub-metering in buildings greater than 100,000 square feet, starting in 2011.

 ·         In Washington DC, owners of buildings 200,000 square feet and larger must start entering energy information into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager this year under the “Clean and Affordable Energy Act.”

 ·         New York’s City Council passed rules in December requiring building owners to conduct energy audits and start benchmarking data.

 ·         On January 12, California announced the creation of a new Green Building Standards Code (CALGREEN) with comprehensive energy and environmental mandates for all new buildings in the state.

 And so on. Meanwhile, industry protests and legal challenges to some green mandates are taking shape. Where all this will end up is anyone’s guess.

For real estate investors and corporations with commercial property around the country, keeping track of all the requirements—let alone complying with shifting standards—is starting to look like a major headache. We will be keeping a close eye on green building legislation, so be sure to check in with us regularly for updates on what is happening and how it might impact your business.

Join a unique global dialogue on sustainability

January 21, 2010

Peter Miscovich
Managing Director
United States
Corporate Solutions

I am pleased to participate as a presenter on workplace mobility and sustainability concepts during the IBM Global Eco-Efficiency Jam, kicking off next week on Jan. 27. 

If you haven’t heard of it yet – this event will be a web-accessible and truly unique opportunity to plug in and become part of a worldwide dialogue on energy and sustainability best practices. I am eager to hear from subject matter experts, analysts and thought leaders from across the globe about what we can all do in our day-to-day operations to lessen our environmental footprint.

Join for a day, join for 30 mins – either way, you are bound to hear some real world best practices that you can take back and share with your teams and stakeholders.

To request an invitation to the Global Eco-Efficiency Jam, please send an email to ecojam@us.ibm.com and let IBM know you read about it on the Green Blog.

Stay tuned here for post-conference perspectives.

The Sunrise of Solar Power

January 19, 2010

Posted by:
Gary Graham
Energy Services Lead
United States
Energy and Sustainability Services

Those glimmers on the horizon are the first rays of solar power becoming a viable alternative for commercial buildings.  Between the dropping cost of solar instillations and the growing array of federal, state and local incentives; the economic viability is becoming a reality.  And, depending on pending legislation, that dawn may be happening a lot faster than anyone anticipated.

This past October, in its “Tracking the Sun II” Report, the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab noted that the cost of solar photovoltaic installations has dropped from $10.80 per watt in 1998 to $7.50 per watt in 2008, without considering any governmental incentives.

The December issue of Building Operating Management magazine reports that the Pendleton, Oregon, water treatment plant is using a solar photovoltaic system to reduce is power cost to 4.68 cents per kilowatt hour versus the 4.81 cents it pays the city for grid power.  Admittedly, the favorable variance was achieved through tax credits and utility incentives, but those benefits are becoming more widely available to anyone who is willing to commit to renewable energy like solar power.

In fact, there is a fabulous solar database that provides maps and charts of solar power incentives around the country.

EPA Action Signals Accelerated Energy Costs

January 14, 2010

Posted by:
Bob Best
Investor Services Lead
United States
Energy and Sustainability Services

The Environmental Protection Agency’s recently-announced proposal for stricter standards for smog-causing pollutants comes with a big price tag … $19 to $90 billion by the year 2020.

Who’s going to pay for it?  We all are.

The key sectors that will bear the primary cost are manufacturers, utilities and oil refiners.  But, that only means that their prices will go up for the rest of us.

We will all feel the pressure to improve energy efficiency accelerate.  Expect to see programs like the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program grow exponentially in the world of real estate, as more buildings embrace energy savings to simply stay cost-competitive in an incredibly competitive marketplace.