Archive for February, 2010

Greening of IT – closing the communication gap between CIOs and CFOs

February 22, 2010

Posted by:
Tom Freeman
Managing Director
Mission Critical Solutions
United States

 CEO’s and Boards of Directors are facing difficult profitability decisions in today’s competitive and fast-paced information-based world.  Transactions must occur and vital data must be available instantly or customers go to the next competitor.  Whether it is a stock trade where milliseconds could be worth millions or medical information that could save a life, it simply must happen.  These decisions are often “stay-in-business” issues rather than “nice-to-have” operational adaptations. 

With data center capital expenditures and operating expenses growing faster than IT budgets, change is inevitable.  And, when a 50MW data center consumes enough energy to power a community of 30,000 homes, the carbon emission spotlight is directed right on top of this fast-growing market segment.

Jones Lang LaSalle will be addressing these challenges at a timely event this Thursday in Dallas. We are participating in an executive exchange:  “Greening of IT and closing the communication gap between CFO’s and CIO’s”.  Kenneth Brill, founder of Uptime Institute, led the team that set most standards of measurement used in the industry today. He will be presenting the benefits of cost-effective, greening of IT and will dispel a few myths about its impact to cap ex.  Jones Lang LaSalle’s Global CFO/COO, Lauralee Martin, will offer the perspective of corporate financial executives who act as go-betweens with CIOs and CEO/Boards and who must strike the balance between right-sizing IT cap ex and being a green corporate citizen.

Our expert panelists include these industry heavyweights who live in this world everyday and who are leaders in design and application of data center strategies for their clients and corporations: 

Christina Page – Yahoo!
Chris Crosby – Digital Realty Trust
Michael Richard- Oracle
Bob Morris – Corgan Architects

Can your mission critical facilities strategic plan afford the greening of IT?  Can it afford not to?

Be sure to check back here.  Following the seminar, we will be sharing some of the key takeaways and insights from this session.

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Hotels Seeing the ‘Green’ In Sustainability

February 19, 2010

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

In many ways, the hotel industry is leading the way in sustainability.  And, why not?  The economics are too overwhelming to ignore.

In an article in the Howard County Times, Judy Colbert provides a fascinating summary of what hotels are doing to get more sustainable and more profitable. 

Judy writes:

“The American Hotel and Lodging Association figures a 300-room hotel can save nearly $36,000 a year by using digital thermostats in guest rooms and throughout the hotel; $17,000 by using compact fluorescent lamps instead of incandescent bulbs; and $35,000 in water savings by using 2.5 gallons per minute (or less) shower heads in guest rooms and employee shower areas. Kurt Krause, general manager of the National Conference Center, Lansdowne, Va., reports that the Green Seal people estimate that the average hotel purchases more products in one week than 100 families will purchase in a year.”

She also cites some incredibly innovative ideas being tried at hotels throughout the country:

• The Fairmont Washington has rooftop beehives for 105,000 Italian honey bees that will produce 300 pounds of honey per year for use by the hotel’s restaurant staff.
• The Fairfield Inn and Suites, in Baltimore, where the Baltimore Brewery once stood, an old grain silo captures water for the hotel’s landscaping.  The system is solar and wind powered.
• Many hotels are replacing mini soap bars and shampoo bottles with dispensers. It’s estimated that hotels throw out more than 10 billion partially-used toiletries each year.

So, if you’re looking for economically-driven ways to make commercial real estate more sustainable, just take a vacation.  Then, after you check into your hotel, keep your eyes open and take notes.

Investor Energy Efficiency Webinar on 2/17

February 15, 2010

Posted by:
Peter Belisle
President
Energy and Sustainability Services
United States

Owners are no longer asking why they should invest in energy efficiency, but they’re still asking how.  Once they have implemented the low-cost strategies that pay for themselves quickly, the next step is making a capital investment to upgrade HVAC systems, windows and so on. Although financing vehicles are available, it’s often difficult to know which methods will work best. We’re helping several owners navigate these waters.

What brings this to mind today is “Energy Efficiency and Real Estate: Opportunities for Investors,” a free webinar at 1pm ET on February 17 hosted by Ceres, the national network of investors and environmental groups to address sustainability challenges.

Our own Dana Robbins Schneider, sustainability program manager on the Empire State Building energy retrofit and other projects, will join panelists from California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and Multi-Employer Property Trust, along with Ceres and its research partner, Mercer, in an interactive hour-long session.

The session will address the hard questions around improving energy efficiency, and discuss answers that the panelists have found to overcome the challenges. In addition to the financing issue, one topic that’s bound to come up is how the investor market values energy efficiency in buildings. Many of our clients say they favor buildings with ENERGY STAR labels or LEED certification. Will they pay more for those buildings? Tune in to find out.

Sustainable Cleaning – From Night to Day

February 11, 2010

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

More and more office buildings are looking at day cleaning as the next huge leap in saving energy and, surprisingly, improving cleaning quality.

Energy experts estimate that as much as 30% of a building’s energy consumption is devoted to lighting and HVAC at night, mostly for cleaning crews.  If cleaning can be done during the day, buildings can achieve total energy consumption reductions of up to 25%.  That’s huge.

And, there’s an added side benefit.  As “faceless” night crews are replaced with people that employees get to know and see working, the employees take more responsibility for keeping areas clean and letting the cleaners know their preferences.  People are happier with the cleaning quality, and the crews actually have less work to do.

The obvious problem is noise, which cleaning companies are addressing with quieter equipment and scheduling vacuuming earlier or later in the workday.

While many tenants may be skeptical at first, the potential savings in operating expenses are simply too large to ignore.  And, as more buildings convert day cleaning, it might turn into an accepted standard.

Jam for the Planet

February 9, 2010

Peter Miscovich
Managing Director
United States
Corporate Solutions

IBM’s recent Global Eco-Efficiency Jam (Eco-Jam) provided a tremendous forum for sharing ideas on environmental topics with experts across a wide spectrum of industries. IBM hosts “jams” – online discussions lasting several days around a common theme – on various topics. It can be a great way to generate smart ideas or to build off the ideas of others. This recent session had over 3,000 postings. Comments came from around the world and from many different fields.
 
I contributed 17 postings to the Eco-Jam. One thread, “Workplace Mobility + Workplace Efficiency = Workplace Sustainability,” posited that mobile technology is enabling companies to significantly reduce their overall real estate footprint from 200 RSF/Person today to 50 RSF/Person by 2015 through various workplace mobility interventions. This approach will enable companies to reduce their carbon footprint due to the dramatic reduction in office space per person, thereby also requiring less business travel, commuting, paper, fewer printers and much less energy consumed in day-to-day operations.
 
Although I was talking mainly about office workers, responses quickly came in asking about life science workers operating in controlled environments as well as banking professionals who can view client records only from within the office for security reasons. Others responded to those comments with possible solutions. People offered thoughts on everything from the possible de-personalization of the workplace in a telework world to the positive effect that such a system has on people with physical impairments.

It’s the kind of dialogue that can only take place when bright minds with a common goal take the time to share their best insights. IBM has created a powerful social network for knowledge sharing through this interactive, web-based platform. I look forward to participating in future Eco-Jams.