Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Denver Becoming One of The ‘Green Cities’

October 6, 2010

Bob BestPosted by:
Bob Best
Energy and Sustainability Services

A number of cities have become very aggressive in promoting sustainability with commercial buildings.  Some of the more prominent leaders are New York, Chicago and San Francisco.  Denver is making a lot of strides to join this group.

Among the many activities being promoted by Denver and the local commercial real estate community is the upcoming “Green Building Summit and Exposition” being sponsored by the Colorado Real Estate Journal with local sustainability organizations, real estate firms and service companies.

Billed as “Colorado’s Largest Green Building Conference on the Year,” the meeting is being held on October 7th at the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center in Englewood, Co.  They are expecting over 300 participants.

It is great to see the commercial real estate industry come together to make green a priority in any city.

Also, Denver is, it ranked fourth in the nation for ENERGY STAR labeled buildings this year. That’s not per capita.  Denver, with 600,000 population, beat out New York and (number-five) Chicago.

Way to go Denver!


The Impact of Scarcity

October 6, 2010

Posted by:
Tina Haubert
Energy and Sustainability Services

There are always excellent presentations at the BOMA NAC conferences. In the Fall Conference that I recently attended, the most thought-provoking topic was given by Christopher Lee, President & CEO of CEL & Associates, Inc., who discussed a number of issues related to the economy. The CEL & Associates, Inc. reports are all very interesting and thought-provoking.

Most relevant to me was his use of six terms that will likely define the next decade for the real estate sector: scarcity, specialization, demographics, debt, sustainability and uncertainty. For now, I want to highlight “scarcity of energy” presented by Mr. Lee.

Most of us recognize that oil and other fossil fuels are increasingly difficult and expensive to extract. Renewable energy sources and greater energy efficiency may fill the gap eventually, but in the near term we can expect energy to play an significant role in the way buildings are managed and valued. Some trends that Christopher Lee sees ahead are:

– Values of  LEED certified and ENERGY STAR labeled buildings will rise faster than others, while buildings with poor energy metrics will face increased vacancy rates and decreased value.

– Property managers will spend much more time focusing on energy-related issues and building energy efficiency issues than they have in the past.

– Lenders will likely shy away from lending on inefficient (real or perceived) buildings.

– Government emphasis on energy will result in continued, and perhaps increased, incentives for building owners who implement efficiency measures and seek renewable energy installations in buildings.

– By 2020, the real estate industry should not be surprised to find that all buildings sold and (re)financed will need to be retrofitted for energy compliance or have escrow monies set aside for retrofits to avoid penalties.

I hope to follow up with thoughts on some of the other five concepts in the report.

Cut energy use at work

October 3, 2010

Posted by:
Chuck Kelly

October is Energy Awareness Month, but what does that mean for each of us at work?  ENERGY STAR provides some great ideas through its “Bring Green to Work” program that help anyone contribute to the cause:

  1. Use the ENERGY STAR power management settings on your computer and monitor so they go into power save mode when not in use.
  2. Use a power strip as a central “turn off” point when you are using equipment to completely disconnect the power supply.
  3. Unplug electronics such as cell phones and laptops once they are charged. Adapters plugged into outlets use energy even if they are not charging.
  4. Replace the light bulb in your desk lamp with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb. It will last up to 10 times longer and use about 75 percent less energy. Turn off the lights when you leave, especially at the end of the day.
  5. Keep air vents clear of paper, files, and office supplies. It takes as much as 25 percent more energy to pump air into the workspace if the vents are blocked.
  6. Create a “Green Team” with your co-workers, help build support for energy efficiency in your workplace, and reduce office waste.

Talk with your office manager and set a goal to make your building an ENERGY STAR qualified building.

Learn more at


Tech Firms and Carbon Disclosure

September 30, 2010

Posted by:
Michael Jordan
Energy and Sustainability Services

I was happy to see in the most recent Carbon Disclosure Project results that, in addition to other industry sectors, carbon disclosure reporting among technology companies has increased.  In the latest report from the CDP (an organization backed by 534 institutional investors representing more than $US64 trillion in funds under management), it was noted that responses from the tech sector in 2010 increased from 78 to 84.  Scope 3 emissions were reported by 65 percent of the respondents, which is an important indicator that companies are looking at a broad swath of their impact.

Technology companies and their products account for about 2 percent of global carbon emissions.  But the answer is not to produce less technology; because we need more innovation, more information, and more connectedness in order to reduce the other 98 percent.  Some estimates say that the technology sector support can reduce five times its own footprint when applied to other businesses.

Technology companies are most concerned with the resilience of their manufacturing facilities and data centers when faced with extreme weather events.  Energy efficiency is also a concern in data centers (not just for technology companies!).  Software companies understandably see opportunities to help monitor, manage, and reduce the carbon footprint of their clients.  And by positioning products and services as tools in carbon mitigation, some are seeing important brand reputation benefits as well.

There is much work remaining.  But there is cause to be optimistic since reporting and improvement actions are trending up.