Archive for May, 2010

Retail commitment to sustainability

May 26, 2010

Posted by:
Lew Kornberg
Corporate Solutions

It was interesting to see how different retail owners and chains approach energy and sustainability.  The Green Pavilion Educational Sessions at ICSC revealed how several retail players are pursuing environmental responsibility while also reducing costs.

One large real estate owner/LL/developer has a sophisticated sustainability program to retrofit 50 million square feet of space for greater energy efficiency.  The goal is to attract retailers through lower operating costs, without overspending on capital improvements, and there are a lot of strategies that can help achieve that balance.

Another retailer is committed to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program, which addresses every aspect of sustainability, from water conservation to indoor air quality, but also will help reduce energy by a projected 30 percent in new and existing locations that conform to redesign standards.

Yet another retailer is more specifically focused on reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.  As a Partner in the EPA’s popular Energy Star program for buildings, they measure energy performance at their stores and seek ways to improve; for example, they have a program that encourages energy-efficient behavior by employees.  In addition to conserving energy, they participate in the Chicago Climate Exchange system of buying and selling credits for renewable energy, which is a preferred method for making solar and wind energy cost-effective, and thus reduce greenhouse gases.

There may be as many different ways to be green as there are retail players.  In our experience, there’s no one set of strategies that are best for everyone, but it’s important to have a goal, a business case to support it and a plan to reach it.

How Green is Retail Ready to Be?

May 25, 2010

Posted by:
Peter Belisle
President of Energy and Sustainability Services

Having discussed energy and sustainability opportunities with retailers and shopping center owners over the past few years, I’ve learned that the sector has a lot in common with other real estate property types. Everyone wants to be green, but there has to be a solid business case for any strategy that costs a substantial amount of money. As with any industry, some players use sustainability as part of their branding, and are willing to spend money on facility strategies that further that goal while other companies are unable to make the financial case for any initiative that doesn’t pay for itself in the first year.

It’s also clear that the retail sector has a unique set of challenges in fostering energy efficiency and sustainability. The large percentage of common-area space in malls, the intense focus on shopper comfort and convenience, and several other factors complicate the greening of retail properties. The economic climate over the past couple of years hasn’t helped, either.

But in speaking with people here at ICSC over the past day and a half, I sense a changing mood. Retailers and owners are collaborating more than ever to develop mutually beneficial sustainability strategies. Green products and services are quickly becoming more effective and less expensive, closing the return-on-investment gap. Shoppers, particularly young people, are making it clear that environmentalism is not a short-term fad.

Will 2010 be the year that the floodgates open on energy retrofits and LEED certifications in the retail sector? Maybe, maybe not—but it’s coming.

Check out the latest at ICSC.

Recognizing Leaders in Green Data Centers

May 24, 2010

Posted by:
Tom Freeman
Mission Critical Solutions

At the Uptime Institute Symposium this week, Jones Lang LaSalle had the pleasure of presenting the Green Enterprise IT Visionary Award to Digital Realty Trust for the construction of a LEED Platinum certified data center in Santa Clara, California. Using full airside economization and other innovative green features, the data center is expected to save 3.5 million kWh and about $250,000 per year.

New this year, the Visionary Award is sponsored and judged by Jones Lang LaSalle, in recognition of an organization that has demonstrated leadership and innovation in reducing energy consumption and promoting sustainability in mission-critical facilities. Although our team works with many companies that deserve recognition, Digital Realty Trust really stands out as a firm that is making a difference. As a Contributing Member of The Green Grid consortium, they support the Power Usage Effectiveness metric for energy efficiency throughout their data center facilities portfolio. And that’s just part of their green datacenter vision.

I hope you’ll join me in recognizing Digital Realty Trust’s drive to remove excess energy use, cost and associated greenhouse gases from its data center portfolio.

Gaining ‘Buy-in’ to Going Green

May 20, 2010

Mary Curtiss
Energy and Sustainability

Most people want to do the right thing and feel good about the way they do their job; however, change isn’t always easy.  Our sustainability team had to overcome significant resistance to change when, on behalf of a global client, we started integrating sustainability criteria into processes for site selection, operations, management and build-out. Even some members of our own account team were reluctant to make changes that they felt might require more work, increase costs or create confusion.

It’s hard to fault people for wanting to maximize productivity and minimize cost, so our team demonstrated how the sustainability initiative would advance rather than hamper those goals. Even after the same messages were communicated from senior management, many were slow to adopt changes. 

Here’s how we accomplished buy-in:

  • Site Scorecards that are incorporated into each site manager’s performance goals (which also affect bonus compensation).  The Site Scorecard measures the progress of four programs types: waste management, water management, energy management and communication.  Performance of these programs is reviewed on a quarterly basis.
  • Global weekly team meetings of all personnel responsible for each program type, where we discussed progress of ongoing initiatives and solicited new ideas.
  • A system for tracking progress of each new initiative to advance one or more program types  The tracking system provides transparency across all locations, allows us to roll out initiatives more quickly, and streamlines reporting to client executives.

This combination of strong organization, visibility and consistency proved to be a winning formula to break down pockets of resistance. People eventually saw that their cooperation was necessary, their input was beneficial, and the results we could achieve by working together were impressive.

Climate change is not just about global warming

May 18, 2010

Gary Graham
Energy and Sustainability Services

Last week, I attended a presentation on the topic of Climate Change. Dr. John P. Holdren, President Obama’s Science Advisor and the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy was the featured speaker. The room was full of people, all who shared the same level of interest in this topic.

John spent an hour discussing the current state of climate-change science, the size of the associated challenge for society, and the technical and policy options for meeting that challenge while maximizing co-benefits and minimizing costs. It was all captivating, however below are a few of many insights that I found interesting:

1). Climate change is not just about global warming and temperature, it’s about the disruption that is happing to our climate.

2). The cheapest, fastest, cleanest emission reduction comes from increasing the efficiency of energy use in buildings, industries and transportation.

3). There is still a lot of very economically viable energy conservation and efficiency opportunities that can and need to be implemented.  Going “Green” can save us a lot of green.

4). The challenges in improving emerging technologies and developing new technologies that will help achieve a drastically reduced carbon emitting world requires a generation of new scientists and engineers prepared to attack these frontiers.  We need to develop strong science and math skills in our youth to achieve this necessary goal.

I think we need to aggressively accelerate the implementation of the energy conservation and efficiency opportunities that are economically viable today and commit to supporting the development of math and science skills of our youth.