In late June, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) sponsored a “Developing Green” conference aimed at exploring the latest trends in green buildings. The 2-day conference, held June 28-29 in Washington, D.C., was chaired by Kenneth W. Hubbard, executive vice president of Houston-based Hines, and drew a crowd of more than 300 attendees. Among the many benefits to environmentally conscious development discussed were reduced energy costs. Gregory Kats, principal of Capital E, Washington, D.C., pointed out that while green building features can add $3 to $4 per square foot (approximately 2-percent above normal construction costs), energy costs are cut by one-third.
Kats also shared how green buildings provide greater health and productivity benefits to occupants. Citing a study by the National Resources Defense Council, he explained that green buildings have been found to increase worker productivity by 7 percent.
Energy savings and boosted productivity from workers was a common theme. With Michael Pawlukiewicz, director, environmental and policy education for ULI, noting that companies like JCPenney have saved $30 million per year in energy costs, and the Pittsburgh PNC Ban realized a 15-percent increase in productivity in its green buildings. These findings were reported from a Real Estate Round Table study.
The hidden benefits to green building were highlighted by Dan Winter, principal of Washington, D.C.-based Evolution Partners, sharing an initiative currently underway to translate green into an underwriting bonus.
While many advantages were shared, all the conference speakers reiterated the importance of implementing an integrated approach at the start of a project. The ULI reports that operating savings are likely to be recovered within 5 years.
To find out more about last month’s Developing Green conference
and the benefits of green building, visit the Urban Land Institute
website at (www.uli.org).