BOMA/NY Pinnacle Awards Announced; Energy Star Buildings Predominate

At the 2011-12 BOMA/NY Pinnacle Awards ceremony held on February 9th at Chelsea Piers, 14 winners took home Pinnacle statuettes, with the competition fielding the most Energy Star and LEED buildings ever. The Pinnacle is the New York City version of the TOBY (The Building of the Year) Awards of BOMA International and is the highest award given owners and managers in the commercial real estate industry.

Among the most dramatic competitions of the evening were:

• The Earth Award was hotly contested by towers from the past three generations of New York development—One Penn Plaza, One World Financial Center and Eleven Times Square—with the ’70s era icon, One Penn Plaza, prevailing.

• In a battle between two Energy Star Art Deco landmarks, the Chanin Building at 122 East 42nd Street edged out 500 Fifth Avenue for Historical Building.

• In the Operating Office Building, 500,000-to-1-million-sq.-ft. category, the post-modern Energy Star tower at 712 Fifth Avenue won over 888 Seventh Avenue.

• A Pinnacle record was set by Paramount Group Inc. ’s Cindy Boyea, RPA/CPM/CCIM, who for the first time in the award’s history, won Manager of the Year in the Over 10 Years of Experience category and took home the award for 1301 Avenue of the Americas in the Operating Office Building Over 1 Million Sq. Ft. category. Ken Fidje, RPA/LEED AP, manager of Vornado Realty Trust’s 888 Seventh Avenue, took home the honors in the Manager of the Year, 3-10 Years of Experience category.

Reckson’s Suburban Offices Achieve LEED Gold

Reckson, a division of SL Green, announces that 360 Hamilton Avenue, a 384,000-sq.-ft., 12-story office building in White Plains, N.Y., which houses its new suburban office headquarters, has been awarded LEED Gold for existing buildings (LEED-EB) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

This is the second LEED-EB certification for SL Green. The company achieved LEED-EB Silver certification in 2009 for 100 Park Avenue, the redeveloped 36-story, 825,815-sq.-ft. building across from Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. Reckson also received a LEED-Commercial Interiors Gold Certification for its new suburban offices. As one of only 43 offices in New York State to receive a Gold level designation or higher, the new office features reduced energy consumption by 25 percent, and diversion of 75 percent of all construction waste from landfills.

Hartz Mountain Opens Solar Array

Hartz Mountain Industries has begun producing power at its Hartz Solar Hamilton facility, an 8.5-megawatt ground-based solar array in Hamilton, N.J. Completed in December 2011, the first ground-based solar array by the developer is comprised of over 30,000 solar modules, making it one of the largest solar power systems delivering power in New Jersey.

The ground array is located in Hamilton Township, near the intersection of the New Jersey Turnpike and I-195on 65 acres of land previous zoned for residential development, 34 acres of which are being used for solar. This ground array, combined with an existing roof-top solar portfolio atop 13 buildings, brings Hartz’s total installed solar-generating capacity to 17 megawatts. Hartz Mountain contracted with Madison, Wis.-based RMT, Inc., an engineering firm specializing in renewable energy facilities, to design and construct the array. The project was financed by TD Bank.

Biofuel Company Renmatix Completes New Headquarters

Emerging biofuel company Renmatix has completed a 26,585-sq.-ft. office fit-out for its new headquarters and technology center, located at 660 Allendale Road in King of Prussia, Pa. The opening of the facility created 150 new jobs in the Philadelphia region.

The space, designed by architects KlingStubbins and built by Hollister Construction Services, features natural products, an open-area design with wood-cladded office pods, an abundance of natural light through exposed high ceilings and clear-story windows and an indoor park setting with tree and plant boxes with access to an employee patio.

Renmatix is a producer of cellulosic sugars for the global renewable fuels and chemicals markets. The firm uses a propriety process that turns lumberyard by-products into a sugar that can be used as a replacement for petroleum products.

USGBC Names Top 10 States for LEED Buildings

The U.S. Green Building Council has released its 2011 list of top 10 states for LEED-certified commercial and institutional green buildings per capital, based on the U.S. 2010 Census. The District of Columbia leads the nation with 31.5 sq. ft. of LEED-certified space per person in 2011, and Colorado is the leading state, with 2.74 sq. ft. per person in 2011.

The remaining eight top states are: Illinois (2.69 sq. ft. per person), Virginia ( 2.42), Washington (2.18), Maryland (2.07), Massachusetts (2.0), Texas (1.99), California (1.92), New York (1.89) and Minnesota (1.81).

Another Award-Winning Year for Transamerica Pyramid Center

In 2011, San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid Center continued to be recognized for its sustainability efforts.

In October, the building became one of just a few San Francisco buildings to hold LEED Platinum certification, based on its focus on increasing energy efficiency, use of alternative transportation by tenants, water usage reduction, recycling and composting to reduce the building's waste stream and the use of green cleaning products. The building also boosted its Energy Star rating to 98, placing it in the top two percent of energy-efficient buildings in the U.S., thanks to the onsite co-generation plant installed in 2009, which produces 70 percent of the building’s electricity and 100 percent of heating and domestic hot water needs.

The Transamerica Pyramid and 505 Sansome also received the BOMA 360 Performance designation, which takes a 360-degree evaluation of a property’s operations and management practices, including: building operations and management; life safety/security/risk management; training and education; energy use and conservation; environment/sustainability; and tenant relations/community involvement.

DuPont Achieves Zero Landfill Status in Building Innovations Business

DuPont Building Innovations has become completely landfill free, reducing its environmental footprint from 81 million pounds of landfill waste annually to zero.

Through the corporation’s Drive to Zero landfill program, which utilizes Six Sigma methodology, none of the waste generated by the business from the manufacture of its Corian solid surfaces, Zodiaq quartz surfaces, Tyvek weatherization systems products and geosynthetic textiles is sent to landfills.

Today, material that previously may have been destined for a landfill is being reused or recycled, including: sanding waste from the manufacture of Corian and Zodiaq, which is used as a filler replacement in concrete; ground-up scrap Corian sheet, which is used as recycled content in first-grade products, such as the Terra Collection of Corian solid surfaces, which now contain up to 20 percent recycled content; crushed scrap Corian, which is sold for use as road sub-base material and as landscape stone; Tyvek wrap and flashing manufacturing trim, which is recycled into first-grade material; shipping pallets, which are repaired, reused or ground into animal bedding; carrier belt film, which is melted and used to make adhesives; and cafeteria waste, which is recycled into worm bedding or converted into energy.

535 Madison Avenue Achieves LEED Gold Certification

Park Tower Group, the developer of 535 Madison Avenue, a class-A commercial building located on Madison Avenue at 54th Street, has earned LEED Gold certification. While pursuing LEED certification, 535 Madison Avenue also earned an Energy Star Label, signifying that the building is now 30 percent more efficient than comparable buildings without the designation.

Steps in achieving LEED Gold at 535 Madison Avenue included: implementing a full recycling program thereby diverting waste from landfills; installing low-flow water closets and urinals thereby substantially reducing water consumption; establishing a building-wide Green Cleaning program; installing a heat exchanger to reuse steam condensate (that is typically disposed) as a heat resource for the building’s lower levels; and implementing a Demand Response load shedding program curtailing energy usage to help prevent black-outs during critical times.

Additionally, the building is situated in New York City’s Midtown East, a high-density area with access to public transportation, and over 95 percent of the building’s occupants travel to work with public transportation on a daily basis.

IKEA Solar Presence in U.S. Approaches 85 Percent

IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, plans to install solar energy panels on five more of its U.S. stores, all located in the Midwest. Completion of installation is expected next summer. Implementation of these projects will extend the IKEA solar presence to nearly 85 percent of its U.S. locations. IKEA already has 12 U.S. solar energy systems operational with plans for 20 more underway.

Collectively, the five stores will total 4.8 megawatts of solar generating capacity, approximately 20,400 panels, and an annual output of 5.62 million kilowatt hours of electricity—cutting 4,273 tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to eliminating the emissions of 760 cars or providing electricity for 484 homes yearly. IKEA will own and operate each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings, including its two Chicago-area stores (Bolingbrook and Schaumburg), as well as stores in Bloomington, Minn., Canton, Mich. and Pittsburgh, Pa.

Houston Center Largest Mixed-Use Complex to Earn LEED-EB Gold

All office buildings within the Houston Center complex and The Shops at Houston Center have achieved LEED-EB Gold (LEED for Existing Buildings), making 2 Houston Center, in Houston’s Central Business District, the largest mixed-use development in Texas to achieve LEED-EB Gold status. The designation recognizes 4.2 million sq. ft. of class-A office space and three floors of retail service outlets. In 2011, The Shops at Houston Center and 4 Houston Center achieved LEED-EB Gold certification, becoming the first Texas mall to achieve Gold status; and in 2010, 1 Houston Center and Fulbright Tower achieved LEED-EB Gold certification.

2011 Smart Grid VC Funding Drops by Half, But Solar Soars, Says Mercom

Mercom Capital Group LLC, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm based in Austin, Texas, has released its annual and fourth quarter venture capital (VC) funding activity report for the smart grid and solar sectors in 2011.

VC funding for smart grids in 2011 brought in $377 million in 50 deals (24 disclosed) compared to $769 million in 51 deals in 2010 (27 disclosed).

The average VC funding round dropped by 50 percent in 2011 to $7.5 million compared to almost $15 million in 2010. Early rounds of disclosed funding (Seed and Series A) accounted for 16 of the 50 deals in 2011.

Top deals were iControl Networks, a broadband home management company ($51.6 million); SmartSynch, a smart grid company using cellular networks for utility smart grid projects ($25.7 million); Silver Spring Networks, a provider of utility networking equipment for smart grid deployment ($24 million); Gridpoint, an energy management solutions provider ($23.6 million); and JouleX, a provider of energy management systems for data centers and distributed office environments ($17 million).

VC investment in solar totaled $1.9 billion in 111 deals in 2011—the highest number of deals ever in a single year. By comparison, there were 65 VC deals in 2010, 84 in 2009, 93 in 2008, and 71 in 2007. Thin-film technology raised the most VC funding ($595.5 million in 17 deals), beating downstream companies ($339 million in 26 deals), crystalline-silicon PV ($338 million in 20 deals), concentrated solar power ($308 million in 13 deals), and concentrated PV ($129 million in 10 deals).

The solar thermal power company BrightSource Energy raised $201 million in Series E funding, making it the largest single VC investment of 2011. Stion, a manufacturer of high-efficiency thin-film solar modules, came in second when it announced a $130 million. The third and fourth highest VC fundraising rounds were by thin-film solar panel maker MiaSolé ($106 million, Series F) and solar cell developer Suniva ($94.4 million, Series D) respectively. The top VC solar investor of 2011 was Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which completed eight transactions, followed by GE and Good Energies, with six transactions each. There were 182 VC investors in solar in 2011.

While Solyndra dominated headlines, over $700 million worth of VC investment came after the solar manufacturer’s bankruptcy announcement on August 31, 2011. Fourth quarter VC funding totaled $511 million, compared to $372 million in the third quarter, $354 million in the second quarter, and $658 million in the first quarter.

ATC Associates and Cardno Merge, Expand Global Reach

ATC Associates Inc., a national environmental services firm headquartered in Lafayette, La., and Cardno, an international environmental services firm headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, have announced their intent to merge by March 1, 2012.

The merger will make ATC, a 1,600-person company with 71 offices in 39 states, a key part of an international industry leader with a combined resource base of more than 6,500 staff working on projects in 85 countries. It will also bring to ATC a broader range of environmental, natural resource management, engineering, international development assistance, project management and planning services in a wide range of countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, Ecuador, United Kingdom, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

Petra Solar, Enviromena to Develop Solar and Smart Grid in MENA

Petra Solar and Enviromena Power Systems have joined forces to develop solar and smart grid projects in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The partnership combines Petra Solar’s SunWave smart energy technology with Enviromena’s expertise in renewable energy development in MENA and demonstrates the firms’ commitment to expanding business internationally and developing the solar and smart grid market in the Middle East. Petra Solar participated in the Project Village at the 2012 World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi in January, showcasing its 40-megawatt project with Public Service Electric & Gas of New Jersey, the world’s largest distributed solar project.

JPMorgan Chase Achieves LEED Platinum for Global Headquarters in NYC

JPMorgan Chase has achieved LEED Platinum for the renovation of its global headquarters at 270 Park Avenue, making it the world’s largest LEED Platinum renovation project. The Platinum rating demanded upgrading every system and feature in the 50-year-old building while the building remained occupied, which required 400 workers per day to complete the renovation in phases, working on up to 10 floors at a time.

The renovation will allow the 50-story building to cut its electricity consumption in half and save more than 1 million gallons of water per year through a new high-efficiency draining and filtering system, including a 54,000-gallon tank in the basement to collect rainwater from the roof and plaza for reuse in landscaping and toilets. In addition, 16,500 sq. ft. of new landscaping was installed, including green roofs and an herb garden to provide produce for client dining.

More than 99 percent of the original building was reused, and more than 85 percent of construction waste, including 990,000 sq. ft. of carpeting, was recycled. Over 12,000 tons of construction waste was diverted from landfills. New floor designs and layout provide 85 percent of employees with natural daylight, and more than 92 percent with exterior views, and 266 bicycle racks were installed for commuters. New energy-efficiency equipment installed includes heating and air conditioning; lighting with occupancy sensors and daylight dimming; Energy Star kitchen appliances, computers and monitors; new insulation and window tinting to reduce glare, heat gain and air conditioning load.

Principal Solar Names Finance Expert to Board of Directors

Principal Solar Inc., a publicly traded renewable energy holding company based in Dallas, has appointed John R. Harris, a veteran in the information technology and business process outsourcing industry for more than 35 years, to its board of directors.

Currently, Harris is an operating partner and investor with GlendonTodd Capital and CEO of Chemical Information Services, a provider of information services to the bulk chemical sourcing industry. Previously, he was president and CEO of eTelecare Global Solutions, where he helped double revenues and expand operations globally, and was president and CEO of Seven World Wide. He also was CEO of several private equity-backed technology service companies and served in several senior executive roles at Electronic Data Systems.

BuildingWise Continues Expansion in Sustainable Retrofit Market

BuildingWise has appointed Project Coordinator Ravi Kurani to its growing team of high-performance building and LEED experts. Positioned as a global leader consulting on design, construction and upgrades of existing buildings for maximum performance and returns, the San Francisco and Monterey, Calif.-based BuildingWise, founded in 2007, is becoming a leader in the sustainable retrofit market.

Having recently completed certification in sustainable energy conservation and storage at Stanford University, Kurani holds an M.B.A. from Middlebury College—Monterey Institute of International Studies and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from University of California, Riverside. He is fast-tracking the process to become a LEED Accredited Professional and working toward his professional engineer’s license.