Best Practices In Sustainability: Developing Green and Winning: What Does It Take?

Nov. 9, 2005

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Just ask Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT).

The Columbia, MD-based fully integrated, self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT) took home the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties’ (NAIOP) inaugural Green Development Award at the organization’s annual conference in October in Hollywood, FL.

The new NAIOP Green Development Award, engineered in consultation with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), was created to recognize the growing number of firms engaged in green development. Herndon, VA-based NAIOP and its member companies are committed to developing model properties adhering to the highest standards in the industry and believe that socially conscious development is essential to the economic vitality of the industry and the nation.

COPT’s winning entry details the green features and sustainable attributes of its property, located at 318 Sentinel Dr., in the National Business Park in Annapolis Junction, MD. The Sentinel property is one of 12 projects currently under development that COPT intends to certify under the USGBC’s LEED-CS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Core and Shell) pilot green building rating system; it’s expected to earn a LEED Gold or Silver certification.

The project, a 4-story, 125,000-square-foot office building, was fully leased during construction. According to NAIOP, some of the project’s green attributes cited by the awards committee include highly filtered air, extremely efficient mechanical systems, water usage reduction of 40 percent compared to a typical office building, and an extensive green housekeeping program. Sustainable features include:

  • A stormwater management system that removes 80 percent of the total suspended solids and more than 50 percent of average annual post development phosphorous.
  • Heat island reduction through the use of a white roof.
  • Reduced light pollution by using exterior lighting designed to prevent spillage beyond the site.
  • Alternative transportation opportunities by building bicycle storage and changing rooms to encourage users to bike to work.
  • Tenant design and construction guidelines to promote green practices by tenants.

COPT also incorporated extensive green features in the building’s interior to improve environmental quality. These features include monitoring CO2 to ensure safe levels and using low-emitting materials, such as low-VOC adhesives, sealants, paints, and carpet, as well as wood products without urea formaldehyde.

The building had a $2.84-per-square-foot green construction premium with a $0.70-per-square-foot annual energy savings. The analysis showed a 6-month return on investment, after costs were offset by energy savings, waste reduction, and other green practices.

COPT is among the largest owners of suburban office properties in the Greater Washington, D.C. region. The company currently owns 155 office properties totaling 12.7 million rentable square feet, which includes 18 properties totaling 885,000 square feet held through joint ventures.

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