“It used to be that all you needed was a site and a vision to become a developer,” says R. Nicholas Loope, director of the Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) program at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. “Today, you need a ‘green strategy’ as well.”
A developer, trained architect, and design/builder, as well as one of the United States' leading real estate educators, Loope initiated the 30-week-long MRED program – now in its 3rd year as one of the nation’s few graduate-level real estate development programs – to prepare tomorrow’s real estate developers. “They must understand sustainability ethics and strategies,” he asserts. “Whether they’re developing a building or planning a new community, today’s market demands sustainability. It has become a crucial element for success.”
As one example of this green emphasis, beginning with the 2008-2009 academic year, MRED requires every student to train for, take, and pass the LEED® accreditation exam, a national designation of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
“From the start, the MRED program emphasized the importance of sustainability as a critical component of responsible real estate development,” says Jerry Yudelson, noted sustainability author, consultant, and co-founder of the USGBC, who lectures at the start of each MRED year. Along with Charlie Popeck of Green Ideas, a Phoenix-based environmental consulting agency, Yudelson teaches multiple workshops to prepare the students for the LEED exam.
LEED Accredited Professionals (AP) often advocate for sustainable and responsible buildings. While that’s important, as Loope points out, “A development’s total sustainability – at the economic and community levels, as well as at the environmental level – hinges on the developer’s leadership and skill.”
MRED students are also enrolled as members of the Urban Land Institute (ULI). They attended the ULI fall 2008 annual meeting that focused on sustainable trends, and participated in ULI Phoenix Chapter’s Trends Day event where numerous leaders in sustainability spoke on the economics of going green.
To cement their education with a first-hand look at sustainable development, each year Loope takes the class to New York City and Boston, where they speak directly with East Coast developers about challenges in their sustainable commercial and residential real estate developments.
For more on ASU’s MRED program, visit http://mred.asu.edu/, or call 480/298-8225.