Buildings’ Project Innovations: Call for Entries
As an extension of Buildings magazine’s awards programs, as well as a corresponding showcase of some of North America’s most prestigious projects, Buildings’ Project Innovations will give your best facilities exposure to more than 72,000 decision-makers - the building ownership and facilities management professionals who qualify to receive Buildings magazine each month. Submitted Project Innovations will be reviewed by a jury of buildings professionals - building owners, facilities executives, architects, interior designers, and the editorial staff of Buildings magazine - and will be automatically entered in one or more of the magazine’s awards programs: Buildings New Construction Awards, Buildings Modernization Awards, and/or Buildings Interiors Design Awards. Both awards recipients and selected Project Innovations will be published in the October 2006 issue of Buildings magazine and online at Buildings.com.
Entry forms are due March 15, 2006, with the project information/material submittals due April 3, 2006. For more complete details and an entry form, go to (www.buildings.com/awards) or call the Editorial Department at (319) 364-6167.
Latest Grubb & Ellis Forecast Predicts “Healthy Year”
The U.S. office market is in the middle of a “classic recovery cycle,” featuring strong demand, low construction, elevated but falling vacancy rates, and firming rental rates, according to Grubb & Ellis’ 2006 North America Real Estate Forecast.
“Conditions will be similar to 2005 as the nation’s economy continues to expand,” says Robert Bach, national director, market analysis, at Northbrook, IL-based Grubb & Ellis. However, Bach cautions, “There are imbalances in the economy that could slow growth as early as the second half of 2006 or even bring the expansion cycle to an early conclusion.”
The forecast predicts the office market will benefit from 2 million new jobs expected in 2006, about 25 percent of which will be located in office buildings. New supply totaling 25 million square feet will fall far short of net absorption, totaling 80 million square feet, which will reduce the vacancy rate to 12.8 percent by year-end, down from 14.5 percent at year-end 2005.
According to the report, the average asking rental rate is expected to rise 5 percent in central business district (CBD) markets and 6 percent in the suburbs. More markets will move from the recovery cycle to the expansion cycle, where rental rates are high enough to justify new construction.
Class-A asking rental rates are expected to rise 10 percent or more in four CBDs: Oakland, CA; San Francisco; Phoenix; and Ft. Worth, TX. Six suburban markets are expected to see Class-A rates rise by 10 percent or more, including the four California markets of San Francisco, Oakland, Riverside, and San Diego, as well as in Phoenix.
Bach says the broader economy poses the greatest risk to the ongoing leasing recovery and imminent expansion cycle. Influencing factors that could cause faltering expansion include rising inflation and interest rates, retrenchment in the housing market, or another imbalance.
Technology is No. 1 Priority for Real Estate Management Professionals
In November 2005 at Chicago-based IREM’s annual Education Conference, more than 600 of the nation’s top real estate managers assembled to help define the future agenda for the real estate management industry.
Calling upon delegates to identify and prioritize the most critical subjects facing today’s professionals, technology was ranked as the No. 1 issue challenging managers of commercial and multi-family properties. Three other strategic issues were also identified: development of a qualified workforce, particularly in the midst of changing demographics; heightened business competition resulting in declining margins; and managing risk in a post-9/11 environment.
Consensus was reached in defining specific needs underlying the four strategic issues facing the industry as well:
- Operational productivity and strengthening customer relationships via technology are among managers’ priorities. As pressures rise, real estate managers are searching for ways to utilize technology to create a sustainable competitive advantage.
- Changing demographics and psychographics, as well as declining profit margins, are causing managers to focus on attracting, developing, rewarding, and retaining qualified staff. This requires finding/developing the right people for jobs and retaining them in the face of higher labor costs and competing career options.
- Due to shrinking margins, increasing competition, and growing owner demands, managers must consistently demonstrate the worth of the value-added services they provide to their clients and employers.
- Real estate professionals must grapple with rising insurance costs, risk management, liability changes, and security concerns - both for the properties they manage and the businesses they run.
Johnson Controls: The State of Integration
In a telephone interview following the mid-December announcement of Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls’ acquisition of YORK Intl., C. David Myers, president of Johnson Controls’ building efficiency business (and former YORK CEO and president), discussed his perspectives on the state of the industry regarding building integration.
Buildings: As an industry, where are we with respect to building integration?
Myers: The industry is making a lot of progress. We see more and more of our customers focusing on the need to have excellent operating environments, whether that be to support a process or to support the environment in a specific building scenario, like retail, or whether it’s about indoor quality. Clearly, there’s a balance needed, and one of the keys is to provide a practical solution, particularly around cost-effective integrated capabilities and to focus on life-cycle opportunities.
Buildings: How do you see emerging technology and people supporting integration in the future?
Myers: Technology will continue to play a key role in our industry. We all strive to invest in innovation that allows technologies to achieve greater performance, whether that’s in energy efficiency or operational capability. But, like most other industries, a lot of the integration of these capabilities and the innovations associated with it [are the result of] the ease of managing these systems and the electronic capability around optimizing performance. Building professionals are much more effective with this than ever before, and I think that is really complementing traditional technology-based capabilities and the enhancements that have come with greater computer capacities.
Buildings: What does the combination of these two industry leaders - Johnson Controls and YORK Intl. - mean to the future of building integration?
Myers: Customers want integrated solutions; they want capabilities, consistency, and geographic coverage; they want one number to call for support. In the two companies coming together, we can provide a true and complete solution to their building needs, not just a piece of equipment or the technical controls capability to do so.
For more information, visit (www.johnsoncontrols.com).
Victorville, CA, Installs Energy-Storage Products on City Buildings to Reduce Peak-Energy Use
The nation’s first city to install energy-storage products that use ice - created by standard-sized air-conditioners - has reduced peak electricity demand on its government buildings.
In October 2005, the Victorville, CA, City Council unanimously approved installation of 54 energy-storage units on 16 city-government buildings beginning in November 2005 to cut down on daytime electricity demand and consumption.
“Victorville is a leader when it comes to adopting smart, energy-efficient solutions to control energy consumption and costs,” says Mayor Mike Rothschild. “We pay attention to new technologies because we believe newer solutions - once tested - can solve many issues and contribute to our city’s economic vitality. Installation of [these] products in the coming months illustrates our aggressive efforts to curb peak energy demand from air-conditioners ... Victorville is a leader in California when it comes to deploying the latest energy technology. Earlier this year, our City Council allocated $5 million to build a 500-megawatt solar/gas-fired power plant - the first hybrid plant of its kind in the world.”
Air-conditioners are the root cause of California’s peak-energy problem, says Rothschild. During peak times on hot summer days, up to 70 percent of California’s peak electricity demand often comes from air-conditioners, according to the California Energy Commission.
GSA Recognizes Sustainability Achievement
Shaw Industries’ commercial division, Dalton, GA; Kyocera Mita America Inc., Fairfield, NJ; and Watson Furniture Group, Poulsbo, WA, recently won the General Services Administration’s 2005 Evergreen Awards for leadership in sustainability and environmental initiatives.
The GSA evaluates nominees in five categories to determine category winners. The five categories include:
- Waste prevention - recognizes reductions in the generation of waste through any change in the design, manufacturing, or use of materials or products; and/or the amount of toxicity in waste materials before recycling, treatment, or disposal.
- Recycling - recognizes outstanding activities, including outreach, collection, separation, and processing by which products or other materials are recovered from the waste stream for use in new products (other than fuel for producing heat or power by combustion).
- Affirmative procurement - recognizes the most effective and innovative programs implemented for the purchase and use of recovered materials.
- Environmental preferability - recognizes the best examples of acquiring, using, or validating products or services that have a reduced impact on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose, an outstanding improvement to a process that resulted in significant monetary savings and benefit to the environment, and product testing that led to the approval and use of environmentally preferable or sound products and services.
- Model facility - recognizes an outstanding contribution to waste prevention, recycling, and affirmative procurement through leadership, investment in resources, and change in culture.
According to the judges, the winners’ environmental initiatives provide significant contributions in all five categories considered under the GSA Evergreen Award.
Shaw took home the award in the furnishings category, Kyocera Mita America in technology and electronics, and Watson Furniture Group for furniture.
The Evergreen Award was established by the GSA’s National Furniture Center in support of Executive Order 13101 dated Sept. 14, 1998, entitled “Greening the Government through Waste Prevention, Recycling and Federal Acquisition.” This policy requires that executive agencies incorporate waste prevention and recycling into their daily operations and work to expand markets for recovered materials through greater federal government use of recycled products.
The awards were designed to recognize the efforts of GSA’s corporate partners in recycling; identify environmentally preferable products and services; recognize waste reduction; and to serve as an example for other firms to follow.
Winners were recognized in December at the GSA National Furniture Center’s Quality Partnership Council (QPC) meeting in Arlington, VA.
Walgreens to Harness Power of the Sun
Walgreens and ImaginIt Inc., a Denver-based clean energy solutions company, have agreed for ImaginIt to own and operate solar electric systems on 96 stores and two distribution centers in California and 16 stores in New Jersey. The new systems will generate more than 13.8 million kilowatt-hours per year, making this the largest solar project ever completed in the United States. The first systems are expected to be operational in early 2006.
“Climate change, air pollution, and depletion of natural resources are some of the most significant environmental problems facing the world today,” explains Tom Bergseth, divisional vice president of facilities, planning, and design at Walgreens. “We’re excited about implementing this progressive approach toward using clean, renewable energy to benefit the communities we serve.”
Solar roof tiles will enable each facility to generate between 20 and 50 percent of its own electricity on-site. The stores will host solar electric systems that will replace energy equivalent to more than 22 million gallons of gas and avoid hundreds of tons of carbon dioxide emissions comparable to growing more than 5 million tree seedlings.
“This is an unprecedented environmental initiative,” says ImaginIt President Patrina Eiffert. “Walgreens is demonstrating a level of social responsibility that could make a significant difference for our future.”
ULI Offers Green Office Buildings Book
Green Office Buildings: A Practical Guide to Development makes clear the financial advantages of green buildings in terms of both capital and operating costs. Fifteen project profiles in the book offer examples in which green buildings have demonstrated success and profit.
The book also dispels the myth that green buildings cost more by providing cost data on 40 U.S. buildings, comparing costs as if projects were built green vs. conventional. Summaries of state and local initiatives that support green building are also included.
If you’re interested in discovering more about the business case for green buildings and the details of site planning, design, sustainable construction, facilities management, financing and leasing, government policies, and trends, visit the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Land Institute’s online bookstore at (www.bookstore.uli.org) or call (202) 624-7187.
GREENGUARD Identifies Low-Emitting Products for Schools
Construction materials in schools (such as adhesives, engineered woods, paints and sealants, ceiling tile, and air-ventilation systems) can emit high levels of toxins into the air, triggering illness and asthma in children.
As a solution to this challenge, the Atlanta-based GREENGUARD Environmental Institute recently introduced the GREENGUARD Standard for Children & Schools™, a guide that identifies and certifies low-emitting products and other materials for use in schools.
The new standard takes the sensitive nature of school populations and the unique building characteristics and maintenance conditions found in schools into consideration and presents the most rigorous product emissions criteria to-date.
The new standard can be viewed at (www.greenguard.org).
Calendar of Events
3/9/06 Green Strategies for Historic Buildings
3/16/06 Healthcare Lighting
3/20/06 Management Models for Capital Projects and Facilities Management
Hilton Head, SC
3/23/06 The Roof Consultants Institute’s 2006 Convention
3/27/06 NeoCon West
Los Angeles, CA
For more information, visit (www.buildings.com/liveevents).
RCMA Releases Technical Note on White Coatings
The White Coatings Council of the Washington, D.C.-based Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA) released a TECH NOTE (TN-06) titled “Overview of White Coatings and their Application.”
This technical note outlines the technology of white reflective coatings for commercial roofing. For building owners, facilities managers, and others, the TN-06 serves as an introduction to a wide selection of excellent product literature available from white coating manufacturers.
“In light of rising energy costs, it is more important now than ever before to spread the word on the availability of white coating products,” says Thomas L. Meyer, chairman of the White Coatings Council. “We are committed to convincing commercial building owners and designers that white coatings are easy to understand, easy to apply, and cost-effective. They result in big savings to building owners and, perhaps more important, they positively affect the environment by reducing energy consumption.”
To order a copy of the TN-06, visit (www.roofcoatings.org/wcc.html).
Tilt-Up Concrete Association Announces 2006 Tilt-Up Achievement Winners
The Mt. Vernon, IA-based Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA), a non-profit international organization that serves to expand and improve the use of tilt-up as a preferred construction method, has announced the recipients of the 2006 Tilt-Up Achievement Awards.
In its 15th consecutive year, the Achievement Awards program was established by TCA to honor projects that use site-cast tilt-up concrete to introduce new building types, advance industry technology, and provide unique solutions to building programs. Projects were reviewed by a panel of 13 judges that represent the membership categories within TCA. Although submittals were judged on aesthetic expression, schedule, size, originality, finishes, and special conditions, this year’s judges also placed an increased emphasis on the characteristics of the projects that would attract and hold the interest of building owners and architects. To qualify for consideration, projects must be submitted by a TCA member.
According to TCA Technical Director Jim Baty, the judges routinely commented on the continued growth of creativity in applying the principles of forming and lifting site-cast tilt-up elements with limited or no constraint on the size, shape, or complexity of the geometry.
Although 36 structures were selected as award recipients, the panel of judges rated three projects from across all categories to receive the exclusive title “Excellence in Achievement”:
- Sibaya Casino, a 485,000-square-foot special project in Durban, South Africa, submitted by Tilt-Up Systems of Kwa Zulu - Natal, South Africa. Low maintenance, cost-effectiveness, and quality made tilt-up the solution for this facility.
- Freedom Towers at Walter Sisulu Square, a special project in Gauteng, South Africa, submitted by Tilt-Up Systems of Kwa Zulu - Natal, South Africa. Judges cited the use of light, form, and special relationships that serve to create a landmark most observers could never forget.
- Access Dental, a 44,575-square-foot office facility in Sacramento, CA, submitted by Panattoni Construction Inc. of Sacramento, CA, with other TCA member involvement of RMW Architects & Interiors and Integrated Design Group. The use of natural stone tiles imported from India, aluminum paneling systems, and glass features created a complex puzzle that demanded a high degree of attention to detail in order to achieve the intent of the design while maintaining the project schedule.
More information about the organization, as well as the 36 recipients of the 2006 Tilt-Up Achievement Awards, can be accessed at (www.tilt-up.org).