The energy to operate commercial buildings costs about $200 billion every year. And on average, 30% of this energy is wasted. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge aims to engage building operators nationwide in improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020. The brilliant part of this initiative, announced by President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, is that it was been achieved through strategic partnership and does not require the approval of the Republican Congress.
“Upgrading the energy efficiency of America’s buildings is one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest ways to save money, cut down on harmful pollution, and create good jobs right now,” observed President Obama. “But we can’t wait for Congress to act. So today, I’m directing all federal agencies to make at least $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next 2 years – at no up-front cost to the taxpayer. Coupled with today’s extraordinary private sector commitments of $2 billion to upgrade businesses, factories, and military housing, America is taking another big step towards the competitive, clean energy economy it will take to win the future.”
1.6 Billion Square Feet Committed
$2 Billion in Financing through Allies
+300 Manufacturing Facilities
The $4 billion challenge is the latest move the Obama administration has made as part of its “We Can’t Wait” campaign to bypass a deadlocked Congress and spur job creation, even as the President pushes lawmakers to pass a $447 billion jobs bill.
We’re proud to say that Los Angeles is one of an elite group of communities, companies, universities and organizations working to improve their bottom line by saving energy.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City of Los Angeles have launched the Los Angeles Commercial Building Performance Partnership to support development and financing of comprehensive energy efficiency and water efficiency upgrades in commercial buildings.
Los Angeles expects approximately 30 million square feet of commercial property to be audited, using $3.2 million in Recovery Act funds with the goal of driving at least $25 million in total investment during their partnership in the Better Buildings Challenge.
The initiative is part of the California Energy Commission’s Energy Upgrade California program, a statewide effort to roll out a network of utility-incentive packages, pilot innovative financing approaches.
Since June 2011 LA County has imitated energy audits for more than 25 million square feet of commercial space — from small neighborhood retailers to downtown skyscrapers. Additionally we are developing a directory of capital providers to facilitate access to project funding options.
“Investments in building retrofits and energy efficiency can make a real difference in the American economy, by creating jobs, growing our industries, improving businesses’ bottom lines, reducing our energy bills and consumption, and preserving our planet for future generations,” concludes President Clinton. “I am proud so many members of the Clinton Global Initiative have joined this Challenge. Working together, I am pleased the commitments to the BBC have grown from the initial $500 million and 300 million square feet that we announced in June at CGI America, to the $2 billion investment with over 1 billion square feet of retrofitted space.”
CALIFORNIA + IKEA BAN 100 WATT BULBS –> Potential savings: $35.6 million in electricity and 10.5 million incandescent bulbsNovember 19, 2011 on 12:01 am | In Green, Market Snapshot, New Developments, Of Local Importance, Problem Solving, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
by Jodi Summers
In California, we have always been ahead of the curve when it comes being progressive. We are proud of the fact that we are way ahead of the pack when it comes to CalGreen and alternative power. Once again, we’ve gone one step beyond by rolling the ban on 100-watt incandescent light bulbs early…and the big box retailer IKEA is in tandem with state goals.
New light bulb options include LED – light-emitting diode bulbs and CFL – compact fluorescent bulbs (which are rumored to contain mercury).
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, calls for a ban on the traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulb. The law goes into effect in all states starting in 2012.
By implementing the law one year earlier, the California Energy Commission concludes that consumers will save $35.6 million in electricity bills and 10.5 million incandescent bulbs will not be sold. We have yet to see the statistics on its impact on our carbon footprint…
IKEA has stopped selling and stocking incandescent bulbs, the first retailer to halt the sale of all such lights. This decision came from the results of an IKEA consumer survey conducted in December 2010, which found that 59% of Americans have already changed to energy-saving lights. 79% know that the bulbs will save money, although
61% are not aware of the legislation.
The phase-out of 100-watt bulbs does not currently affect lower wattage incandescent bulbs…but get ready…the CEC notes that over the next couple of years, similar efficiency standards will be applied to 75-, 60- and 40-watt bulbs.
The IKEA survey found that 62% are not concerned about the disposal of old bulbs… which can easily be recycled via mail or pickup through sites like http://www.ecycleenvironmental.com.
By Jodi Summers
In the future, big buildings are not going to be called skyscrapers, they’re going to be known as eco-towers. This new breed of buildings are utilizing green technologies on an entirely new scale. And, like the elliptical shape our new Marriott hotel downtown, they will not look like those box-shaped structures that have become familiar to world skylines. Let us share with you 10 of the world’s most unique green eco-towers;
1.The Bahrain World Trade Center Towers, Kingdom of Bahrain
There is a lot of land in developing nations, and space allows for tremendous innovation. The Bahrain World Trade Center, located in the capital city of Manama, is a 50-story eco-tower, the second tallest building in Bahrain, and the firstskyscraper in the world to integrate wind turbines into its design. Bridges between the buildings house 3 96-foot suspended between the towers house propellers which supply the spires with over 1100 megawatts per year. These towers face north to capture the winds from the Persian Gulf, and the sail shape of the building was designed to to maximize the airflow for the jumbo blades. The “S” shape flow is ideal because it ensures that any wind coming within a 45 degree angle to either side will create a wind stream that is perpendicular to the turbines. These turbines are intended to provide 11% to 15% of the towers total power consumption.
2. The Pearl River Tower, Guangzhou, China
The China Green Building Council offers basic energy efficiency rules for building, and features a 5-star labeling system as a market-based incentive. The Pearl River Tower exemplifies China’s green push, as this eco-tower is designed to harness winds at lofty heights, using internal wind turbines for lighting. Fashioned like a giant wing, the tower pushes air through wind tunnels on two of the building’s 71 stories. Other green features on the Pearl River Tower include geothermal heat sinks, ventilated facades, waterless urinals, integrated photovoltaics and daylight responsive controls. The skyscraper has net zero energy goals, and anticipates generating enough power to meet its energy demands. Pearl River Tower is a self-sustaining, environmentally intelligent building that is a stunning new icon for the future of the region.
3. Bank of America Tower, New York City
The Bank of America Tower is Manhattan’s 2nd tallest building and 1st LEED Platinum eco-tower. The designers of, Cook + Fox Architects have incorporated rainwater capture and floor-to-ceiling windows for natural lighting, natural gas fuel cells for on-site electricity and sunlight-sensing LED lights maximize efficiency.
4.The Lighthouse Tower, Dubai
The Dubai International Financial Centre Lighthouse Tower incorporates 4,000 photovoltaic panels on the south facing facade as well as three mega 225 kilowatt wind turbines to meet its electricity needs.
Designed by the Atkins Group, the 66-floor Lighthouse Tower is designed to produce the smallest carbon footprint possible. It is structured as two separate towers connected by a bridge at level 10, and features numerous sky gardens. The tower hopes to reduce energy consumption by 65% and its water consumption by 40% when matched against similar structures.
5.The CIS Tower, Manchester England
The CIS Tower is the second-tallest building in Manchester, England. Measuring 387 feet tall, the glass roofed building is home to Co-operative Financial Services. The Tower was built in 1962, and is a fine example of green retrofitting. The new and improved CIS Tower may be considered the ultimate is solar, with more than 7,000 panels on the façade provide a weatherproof barrier, and generate about 390kW of power for the building. In total, 7,244 Sharp 80W modules are used to cover the entire service tower (but apparently only 4898 of these modules are “live” the others are “dummy modules”). Additionally, there are 24 wind turbines on the roof, and the ability to produce 10% of its energy needs.
The £5.5 million ($10.1 million) solar project was supported by a £885,000 (US$1.64 million) grant from the Northwest Regional Development Agency and a £175,000 (US$ 324,435) grant from the Department of Trade and Industry.
6. The Hearst Tower, New York City
The Hearst Tower was the first skyscraper in Manhattan to achieve LEED Gold accreditation. Built atop the existing Hearst building, this innovative addition hsed 80% of the steel was recycled, as well as the floors and ceiling tiles are made from recycled materials. Architect was Norman Foster designed a “diagrid” triangular framing pattern required fewer steel beams to achieve the same rigidity as a conventional skyscraper. Rainwater is collected on the roof and is funneled into a 14,000-gallon tank in the basement, and accounts for 50% of the tower’s usage. It’s pumped into the cooling system, used for irrigating plants in communal spaces called “sky gardens” and to power the 3-story waterfall which cools and humidifies the lobby air (like NYC needs more humidity). The building also boasts a smart elevator system, which retains memory and optimizes paths based on previous data, headcounts, and floor requests.
7.The Burj al-Taqa (Energy Tower), Dubai
Unlike most of the U.S. and Europe, Dubai has the issue of extreme heat. The Burj al-Taqa is 68-story super eco-tower has a cylindrical shape that is designed to expose as little surface area to the sun as possible, thanks to a façade built from a new generation of vacuum glazing. A protective solar shield reaches from the ground to the roof and covers 60% of the building. It protects the side most affected from the sun’s glaring rays, making sure that none of the rooms are exposed to direct sunlight. The remaining 40% of the structure has diffused light that is tempered by a mineral coating on the windows. This objective is to shield the building from outside heat, keeping the temperatures inside at a low, comfortable temperature.
“Such a building has to work like a thermos flask,” says DS-Plan’s energy manager Peter Mösle. “It has to have a cooling effect in the summer and retain heat in the winter.”
Burj al-Taqa also has a natural air conditioning system. Lateral openings in the towers suck in cool air like a chimney. The heavier cool air sinks downward, displacing the lighter air; therefore creating a temperature that is ideal for the working environment. Additional fresh air, cooled by sea water, is pumped into the interior of the building by means of a duct system at the same time. There are three large cooling units in the cellar of the skyscraper, also lowering the inside temperature.
Burj al-Taqa was modeled after ancient Persian architectural features. It is #22 on the list of the tallest buildings in the world thanks to the 200-foot wind turbine that will sit atop the building. The turbine, accompanied by two photovoltaic facilities produce the electricity to meet the needs of the building. Additional energy is provided by an island of solar panels that drift in the sea within viewing distance of the tower.
8.Waugh Thistleton Residential Tower, London
This eco-residential building employs 4 helical wind turbines attached to one side of the tower have the potential to generate 40,000kW hrs a year, more than 15% of its energy needs.
9. 340 on the Park, Chicago
If you have $700K to throw down on a 1,600 square-foot condo in this tower designed by archtiectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz, you can enjoy low utility bills thanks to the building’s fully insulated windows and rainwater capture system. The building was designed Post-Tensioning in order improve the floor-to-ceiling height for residents.There is also a multi-story winter garden starting on the 25th floor and it is connected to the Chicago pedway system. 340 on the Park is the first residential tower in the Mid-West America to achieve Silver LEED certification.
10. The Urban Cactus, Rotterdam
Designed by UCX Architects, the Urban Cactus is a residential project in the Netherlands that offers 98 residential units on 19 floors. The staggered design and curvy balconies which looked like a stacked set of rotated, swoopy plates allow each unit’s outdoor space to get plenty of light from the sun. This also affords greater angles of natural sunlight to penetrate into the interior of the units themselves. While this tower may lack in the technology department, its carbon-mitigation potential is high thanks to all the photosynthesis happening on the porch gardens. Additionally, the building is white to mitigate the urban heat island effect.
By Jodi Summers
New York City is routinely voted as one of the greenest cities in the country . Why? You ask, confused by the smells, the noise and the trash tornados you get on windy nights. But look at the upside, brilliant mass transit, shared resources, maximum land use.
Experts have concluded several reasons why urban living is more environmentally friendly than the house in the suburbs…
DENSITY = BETTER LAND USE
Playa Vista or Santa Monica is a fine example of dense mixed use. You’ve got residential and commercial mixed with green space, and people are out of their cars. When populated areas have an efficient mixed-use design, they become more desirable. Think of how vibrant Los Angeles’ downtown office district has become since it’s been transformed to a lofty mixed-use environment. Brilliant buildings like that stood vacant are now teaming with life. The abandoned banking district on Spring Street or the depressed theater row on Broadway are now vibrant with fresh of school employees with big dreams, inspiring the adaptive reuse of historic properties. (Get a clue Indianapolis.)
Parks and plazas that were previously heavily populated by toothless vagrants (think Pershing Square or McArthur Park) have become places for picnic lunches and Frisbee games.
Compare a square mile of a suburb and a square mile of a city. Which has a better use of space? There are more activities in a city square mile, making it more efficient and more fun.
There are many native New Yorkers who don’t drive. They don’t need to. Between subways, trains and buses and the occasional taxi, they can get everywhere they need to be. From an economic standpoint, traveling by bus, subway, light rail or train, saves money on insurance, gas, parking and car repairs…and gives you some luxury time to read or listen to anything you choose. From a broader perspective, mass transit allows for fewer emissions. L.A. is trying…
If you’re not fortunate enough to have people picking through your trash doing your recycling for you, you can get involved in recycling through L.A. County’s many recycling programs. For local recycling phone numbers check out: http://www.socalgreenrealestateblog.com/?p=907
Did you hear about Santa Monica’s $46.1 million Palisades Garden Walk park? Santa Monica can get a bit over the top on their projects, but they have the right idea. NYC requires that all new buildings have an aesthetic public space. Cities are wising up to the need for green public spaces. Parks, nature preserves, botanical gardens, waterways and greenbelts soften the harshness of a city, reconnect people to nature and become social gathering places, and offer psychological well being. From an environmental standpoint, green spaces also absorb rainwater runoff, prevent soil erosion, cool the city, and turn CO2 into oxygen….and they’re far easier to maintain than your garden.
GREEN WALLS, URBAN GARDENS, FARMER’S MARKETS
Follow Michelle Obama’s lead and plant a victory garden. City codes have been altered allowing inhabitants to grow food and keep livestock, or have a plot in a community garden. ..or just go to the farmers market and get locally grown food which is easier on the environment.
FUN @ YOUR FINGERTIPS
One of the best things about urban living is everything is close @ hand – restaurants, games, theater, museums, night clubs, Los Angeles has so much for its inhabitants to take advantage of. It’s a lot sexier than outlying suburbs like Palmdale.
By Jodi Summers
Scientists have identified two unique effects of titanium dioxide – a common compound that is used in products as diverse as quick-setting concrete, tile grout and even suntan lotion.
1- When exposed to sunlight, titanium dioxide acts as a catalyst to break down organic matter.
2- While titanium dioxide breaks down organic matter, it creates a superhydrophilic (water-loving) surface.
Now, Alcoa Architectural Products has developed a proprietary, patent-pending process that leverages HYDROTECT™ technology from TOTO® to apply a titanium dioxide coating, called EcoClean™, to the pre-painted aluminum surface of Reynobond®. The result is the world’s first coil-coated aluminum architectural panel that helps clean itself and the air around it.
Called “Reynobond with EcoClean,” the patented HYDROTECT™ technology protects our planet by drawing on sunlight, rainwater and other natural forces to help cleanse the global environment. Alcoa’s breakthrough was determining how to apply that technology to pre-painted metal – creating the EcoClean™ coating.
Alcoa says the panels reduce maintenance costs and helps decompose smog and other pollutants in the air that cling to building surfaces, from dirt to diesel fumes. As a photocatalyst, titanium dioxide interacts with sunlight to break down organic matter both on and floating around the surface of the building panels, leaving the organic matter sitting on the surface of the Reynobond® panel, ready to be washed away. When it rains, water doesn’t bead on the surface. Instead, it collapses and runs evenly off the building, taking most of the broken down pollutants with it. That means lower maintenance costs for owners, and a consistently cleaner image for the building over time.
Smog-choked Los Angeles could breathe a bit easier with this green building technology. Times Square will glimmer a little brighter. Downtown skyscrapers wouldn’t need to hire window cleaners to keep floor-to-ceiling windows transparent.
At the core of the concept is a proprietary process that takes Toto’s patented Hydrotect technology — which helps keep microbes at bay on that company’s toilets, bath tubs and other bathroom fixtures — and applies it to a hydrophilic titanium dioxide coating on the pre-painted aluminum surface of a Reynobond panel.
Reynobond® with EcoClean™ actively works to remove pollutants by using sunlight, water vapor, and oxygen in the air to clean the air itself. In fact, 1,000 sqm / 10,000 sq ft² of Reynobond® with EcoClean™ on your building can have approximately enough cleansing power to offset the smog created by the pollution output of four cars every day, which is the approximate air cleansing power of 80 trees every day.
The result: an aluminum panel that, in the presence of sunlight, acts as a catalyst to break down organic pollutants on its surface and in the air around it. Once broken down, rainwater simply rinses them away.
Sick building syndrome has a thoroughly deserved reputation for being one of the most dangerous, and often the most expensive, problems in commercial property ownership and management. Property managers are frequently driven to distraction by the sheer number of problems sick building syndrome can cause. In many cases the only defense against sick building syndrome without major surgery is industrial cleaning, but some buildings are so bad that even the best cleaning services can only make the place tolerable.
Sick building syndrome became notorious in the 1980s. Many owner of older properties found they had whole portfolios of sick buildings, a very expensive problem indeed. In many cases the solution was to simply tear down the buildings, but the problem of achieving better commercial building design remained.
Air-conditioning problems, ventilation, lack of natural light and antiquated building designs can cause sick building syndrome. The problem is that it’s not only the building that’s sick. “Sick building syndrome” quite literally translates into “sick people”.
Common problems include problems for both businesses and property management:
- · Respiratory ailments
- · Absenteeism
- · Allergies
- · Mould
- · Ventilation issues
- · Stress-related issues
- · Job dissatisfaction and related high turnover of staff
- · Difficulty in retaining property tenants
- · Cockroaches, rats, mice and other vermin
- · Much lower rental values
- · Litigation from tenants
The Green building approach
The basic architectural concepts are pretty straightforward:
- · Enhanced natural lighting and light management systems
- · Improved environmental management
- · Thorough analysis of the environmental needs of internal building areas
- · Use of natural, sustainable building materials replacing toxic artificial materials
- · Cost and energy efficient air-conditioning including allergen and humidity controls
The new Green approach has been a paradigm shift, effectively reversing the old building concepts. In Green building, the internal building environment becomes a sustainable environment:
- · Building environmental management is based on integrated modern systems.
- · Natural lighting provides a healthy detoxification effect for the workspace.
- · Much better quality office and commercial materials like sustainable carpets last longer, improve the workplace environment and cost significantly less over their product lives.
- · Improved ventilation and environmental controls greatly improve the general health of the environment, and in many cases provide a healthier environment than most people have in their homes.
- · “Dead” spots in the building environment are eliminated at the planning stage. (In the old days, internal spaces out of natural light became repositories of mould, and were naturally unhealthy places to work.)
The result of the new Green architectural approach has been to turn what used to be a truly epidemic-level problem in commercial property management into a relic of the past. Thanks to CAD, and a generation of architects let off the leash from old building designs and their mistakes, the future of commercial property is looking a lot healthier than it ever did before.
It’s good news for office cleaning services, too. The new Green buildings, unlike the sick old buildings, can actually be cleaned properly, improving hygiene and making the workplace a safer, healthier place to work.