USBGC Launches California Best Buildings Challenge

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and its Northern California Chapter have launched the California Best Buildings Challenge. The launch took place on June 8 at the closing of the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative America in Chicago. The meeting was focused on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in the U.S. President Clinton and USGBC President, CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi joined to announce the Challenge to the more than 900 business, nonprofit and media participants at the event.

Inspired by the White House’s Better Buildings Challenge and President Clinton’s pioneering work to promote sustainable buildings, the California Best Buildings Challenge includes industry-leading firms with a strong California presence that have committed to reducing their building energy, water and waste by 20 percent. So far, Adobe, Genentech, Google, Prudential Real Estate Investors, SAP and Zynga have signed on to the challenge, collectively committed 5 million sq. ft. of building space from their portfolios.

USGBC and its Northern California Chapter are launching the Challenge as a 2012 CGI America Commitment to Action and are working to inspire other companies to sign on.

New Smart Building Technology to Improve Federal Buildings

U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has contracted IBM to develop and install smart building technology in 50 of the federal government’s top energy-consuming buildings. The initiative will connect building management systems to a central cloud-based platform, improving efficiency and saving up to $15 million in taxpayer dollars annually. Commercial buildings account for almost 40 percent of U.S. primary energy usage and GSA owns nearly 182 million sq. ft. of office space nationwide. Increasing building efficiency will help agencies meet President Obama’s goal to reduce energy consumption in federal buildings by 30 percent by 2015.

IBM will develop a system to monitor building performance nationwide and stream data to a central facility, allowing faster analysis and more informed decision-making. The project makes use of building management technology, linking major building controls in real-time to make federal buildings more energy efficient. When fully implemented, GSA will use newly available data and analytics to save energy and reduce building operating costs in GSA’s entire owned inventory.

The system will allow tenants to view performance of their buildings on dashboards with real-time metrics on energy savings and recommendations on how to increase efficiencies. In the first year, 50 buildings will be integrating with the system, and as additional federal buildings are constructed and other facilities are upgraded, those buildings will also be managed with this platform.

SJP Properties Leases Half Retail Space at 11 Times Square

SJP Properties has completed a long-term lease for half the retail space at 11 Times Square, its 1.1-million-sq.-ft. LEED Gold-certified office and retail tower located at Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan. The Global Food International Corporation has signed a lease for 25,000 sq. ft. of the 11 Times Square’s approximately 525,000 sq. ft. of retail space on the building’s ground floor and mezzanine level, and plans to open a unique dining establishment featuring international cuisines. SJP will begin build-out of the space this fall with architects HLW International. The restaurant is scheduled to open in 2013.

Metro Green Residences Opens at Stamford Transportation Center

May 30 marked the opening of Metro Green Residences, a 50-unit mixed-income green housing development located one block from Stamford Metro North Railroad Station in Stamford, Conn. The project is the second green housing development by Metro Green, a joint venture by co-developers Jonathan Rose Companies Inc. and Malkin Properties, and is the first phase of the Metro Green master plan. Upon completion the mixed-use, transit-oriented development, will consist of 238 mixed-income residential units and a 17-story, 350,000-sq.-ft. sustainable class-A office tower. The overall project has received LEED Gold New Development certification.

Metro Green Residences is a, seven-story, block-and-plank new construction building, including one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Forty of the units are designated for reduced-income households, while 10 units are available at market rate. The building currently has three market-rate units and two below-market-rate units available. Over 1,600 sq. ft. of green retail space is also available on the ground floor adjacent to the plaza and rain garden.

First National Green Building Standard Silver Certification Awarded in Maryland

Johnson Development Associates, a multifamily residential developer based in Spartanburg, S.C., has achieved the first National Green Building Standard Silver certification for a multifamily project in Maryland. Johnson Development’s Haven at Odenton Gateway project, a 252-unit community which opened in April, features enhanced storm water treatment; native landscaping; low-volume irrigation; innovative insulation and air-sealing; on-site recycling; high-efficiency windows, lighting and HVAC; Energy Star appliances and third-party inspection and performance verification.

M Station Wins Envision Central Texas Award

M Station, a recently completed multifamily community designed by the Austin, Texas-based architecture firm Hatch+Ulland, has won a Community Stewardship Award from Envision Central Texas (ECT). These awards are presented to recognize and honor innovative people, projects and processes addressing growth in and challenges faced by the Central Texas region, and are chosen by a jury of national experts in planning, transportation and green space.

Liberty Property Trust Launches Green Guide Web Site, Achieves Energy Star Status

Liberty Property Trust’s newly launched Web site, LibertyGreenGuide.com, is dedicated to educating, encouraging and supporting creation of work environments that limit resource consumption, improve building performance and promote health and productivity. Inspired by conversations with Liberty’s tenants, the website offers tools for benchmarking energy use and provides steps for saving water, reducing waste, managing transportation and achieving certifications such as LEED and Energy Star.

Liberty Property Trust has also made strides toward sustainability throughout the company. Liberty recently added Energy Star certification at a seventh building in its Maryland region—the class-A office building, located at 6 North Park Drive in Hunt Valley’s business community—bringing the company’s national total in Energy Star-certified buildings to 91. Liberty has also been named a 2012 Energy Star Partner by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Regency Centers Go LEED Silver in Illinois, North Carolina

Two buildings at shopping centers owned by Regency Centers in Illinois and North Carolina have achieved LEED Silver certification. The projects are the 51,298-sq.-ft. Mariano’s Fresh Market at Roscoe Square, Regency’s first LEED-certified redevelopment, in a 140,461-sq.-ft. neighborhood center in Chicago; and Market at Colonnade, a 57,637-sq.-ft. ground-up infill center anchored by Whole Foods Market in Raleigh, N.C.

Sustainability highlights at Roscoe Square include: retrofitting the 31-year-old center with a green roof and underground detention cistern; building insulation, high-performance glazing and energy-efficient lighting combined to reduce overall energy use by more than 20 percent; 70 percent of expected core and shell electricity usage for two years being offset with renewable energy certificates; 223 tons of construction and demolition debris generated during construction being recycled.

At Market at Colonnade, highlights include: low-impact design to capture and reuse up to 300,000 gallons of storm water runoff; collaboration with North Carolina State University on the design; a LEED Gold certification for Whole Foods for commercial interiors and partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Net-Zero Energy Program Commercial Building Initiative to create energy-efficient grocery space; two electric car-charging stations for customers; and winning the City of Raleigh’s Environmental Award for Natural Resource Conservation in 2011 and the Triangle Commercial Real Estate Women’s 2012 Award for Best Land Use.

Columbia University Earns LEED Platinum for Manhattanville Campus

Columbia University’s environmentally sustainable design and overall project plan for its 17-acre Manhattanville campus in West Harlem has earned LEED Platinum for Neighborhood Development certification—the first LEED Platinum certification for a university campus nationally and in New York City.

Columbia’s long-term Manhattanville campus plan will transform a former industrial area into an energy-efficient, walkable environment with local retail and culture and publicly accessible green space. The plan is also designed to bring together members of the university and local communities, enhancing connections between West Harlem and the Hudson River waterfront.

NorSouth Development Multifamily Projects Receive EarthCraft Certification

Two affordable senior communities owned by NorSouth Development in Atlanta have received EarthCraft Multifamily certification, recognizing their sustainable and energy-efficient design and construction. HearthSide Brookleigh in Brookhaven is a $15.7 million senior living community of 121 apartments, which opened in March and is 65 percent leased, and HearthSide Towne Lake in Woodstock is a $15.3 million rental community that is 75 percent leased since opening last December.

Both NorSouth facilities offer private gardens, media rooms, fitness centers, art studios, salons and petanque courts. Sustainable building practices include rainwater harvest systems, LED outdoor lighting, indoor air quality improvements and energy-efficient appliances. At Hearthside, mature trees were removed during older buildings demolition and replanted in the facility’s new park.