The seventh annual Earth Hour took place on Saturday, March 23. An environmental movement that now spans 7,001 cities and 152 countries, Earth Hour encourages commercial buildings and private residences to turn off all non-essential lighting for one hour to demonstrate their concern for the environment, starting at 8:30 p.m. local time. The movement is an annual global call to action to every government, business, community, school and individual to demonstrate publically the importance of sustainability.

The inaugural Earth Hour was held in Sydney, Australia in 2007, with 2.2 million Sydneysiders and 2,100 local businesses participating. Although Earth Hour’s founding organizers, Australia’s World Wildlife Fund, originally planned only to take the event national in Australia, international interest was high, with cities around the world signing up immediately for the 2008 Earth Hour campaign.

Earth Hour 2013 included several members of the U.S. real estate industry.

Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA) strongly encouraged its members to participate for the fourth year in a row. BOMA has demonstrated a commitment to finding solutions that minimize negative human impact on the earth through several initiatives. These include its 7-Point Challenge, launched in 2007, which asked members to reduce energy consumption by 2013; producing the commercial real estate industry’s first green lease guide; partnering with the Clinton Climate Initiative to release the BOMA Energy Performance Contract model; and launching the BOMA Stars program in 2011 to promote the importance of benchmarking energy consumption in commercial buildings through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Portfolio Manager and sharing that data with the BOMA Master Account. Since its launch, more than 3,400 buildings representing 861 million sq. ft. have participated.

Columbia Property Trust took part in Earth Hour for the sixth year in a row. Overall, Columbia Property Trust's portfolio encompasses a total of 82 operational buildings in 19 states and Washington, D.C., and one international property, collectively covering approximately 21 million sq. ft. Columbia’s participating properties included Market Square in Washington, D.C.; Key Center in Cleveland; and 5 Houston Center in Houston. In addition, Columbia Property Trust recently was named a 2013 Energy Star Partner of the Year by the U.S. EPA for its commitment to energy-efficiency. The firm’s portfolio currently includes 50 Energy Star-certified buildings, 20 LEED-certified buildings and one Green Globe-certified building.

Several other full-service commercial real estate firms, including CBRE Group and Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Property Management Services, also joined in Earth Hour.

Fort Lauderdale’s LEED Gold 110 Tower Signs Three New-to-Market Firms

Transwestern’s 110 Tower, a LEED Gold-certified class-A office building located in Fort Lauderdale’s Central Business District, is welcoming three new tenants, collectively leasing 12,200 sq. ft.

“These leases signify growth and an absorption trend in the downtown Fort Lauderdale market, primarily by new-to-market tenants,” Laurel Oswald, senior vice president of Transwestern, said in a statement. “Sustainable office buildings that offer cost-saving amenities and the prestige of LEED Gold certification are popular among growing businesses. As a result of 110 Tower’s on-site amenities and convenient location … tenants can enjoy not only economic efficiencies, but time efficiencies as well, resulting in higher productivity.”

Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A., has entered into a long-term lease at 110 Tower and will occupy in excess of 6,500 sq. ft. on the building’s 18th floor. The law firm, headquartered in Miami, also maintains a presence in West Palm Beach, Orlando, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Tampa, Bonita Springs and Key West. Freedland Harwin PL has leased approximately 3,000 sq. ft. on the building’s 23rd floor. With offices in Fort Lauderdale and Weston, Freedland Harwin is a medical malpractice and personal injury law firm representing consumers nationwide. Both law firms cite the advantage of the building’s downtown location and convenient access to the area’s county and federal courthouses as determining factors in their moves. 

EVault, a Seagate company headquartered in San Francisco, has leased approximately 3,000 sq. ft. of office space on the 21st floor. As a technology firm, EVault provided a strategic diversification in tenant mix, and opted for a modern design and open floor plan, thereby maximizing the views of downtown Fort Lauderdale and the Intracoastal Waterway.

110 Tower has built a reputation for pioneering efforts in energy efficiency within Fort Lauderdale’s downtown district, and the building was the first option for tenants seeking a LEED Gold-certified building within a multi-tenant high-rise office tower. The building subsequently received the U.S. Green Building Council of South Florida’s coveted GalaVerde Award as Florida’s Best in LEED for Existing Buildings as well as BOMA Fort Lauderdale/Palm Beach’s TOBY Award for Renovated Building of the Year.

110 Tower is completing a comprehensive $15 million interior and exterior renovation program which includes upgrades to the lobby, new ground-floor retail, upgraded upper-floor common areas and other interior spaces, replacement and improvement of all building primary mechanical systems and a unique exterior lighting system. 

Located in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale, directly across from the Broward County Courthouse, this iconic tower, constructed in 1988 provides a combination of upscale office space, easy access and stunning views. The building’s tenants have access to many new and existing amenities, which currently include 110 Fitness, Sabadell United Bank, a wrap-around outdoor terrace and conference centers.

 

Allplan Receives IFC2x3 CV2.0 Certification from buildingSMART for Excellent IFC Export

The international association buildingSMART has extensively tested and recertified the building information modeling (BIM) solution Nemetschek Allplan with respect to the industry foundation classes (IFC) export—and recognizes the company’s support of the open BIM process. Allplan is one of four products in the architecture, engineer and construction market, which received this award at the international buildingSMART meeting in Waltham, Mass., on March 12.

buildingSmart is an international, cross-industry alliance dedicated to improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the design, construction and facilities management industries, with an emphasis on information sharing and BIM. It has developed the open IFC standard, also known as the buildingSMART Data Model.

In 2010, buildingSMART relaunched its certification scheme, introducing a clear distinction between import and export functions and improving quality checks. The scheme uses a web application, the Global Testing and Documentation Server, which provides automated online testing of IFC files, tools for documentation of manual tests and is a place where candidates for certification can run tests to ascertain compliance. The database of GTDS stores all test results and provides test reports. Certification 2.0 by buildingSMART is open to all software developers who are members of buildingSMART.

MedProperties Group’s Lakeview Medical Campus Awarded Silver LEED Certification

MedProperties Group, a Midwestern medical office developer, recently opened its $21 million, three-story, 75,000-sq.-ft. multi-tenant medical office building, the Lakeview Medical Campus, at 1333 West Belmont Avenue in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. The project is over 70 percent leased by Northwestern Memorial Hospital under a long-term lease.

Lakeview Medical’s LEED Silver certification for core and shell construction is a rare achievement, as less than 1 percent of LEED-certified projects in the U.S. are healthcare facilities. Highlights of reducing the environmental impact of construction include: diverting over 95 percent of the construction waste from landfills; a green roof reducing storm water runoff; low flow and high-efficiency plumbing fixtures to reduce potable water consumption; and the selection of high efficiency mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems which improve energy performance, conservation, and extend equipment life. The Lakeview Medical Campus project also demonstrated ownership’s commitment to sustainable principles and practices.

McPherson Building Awarded Regional TOBY, BOMA 360 Designation

Cassidy Turley announced that the McPherson Building, owned by Clarion Partners and located at 901 15th Street, N.W. in Washington, D.C., has been awarded the Regional TOBY (The Outstanding Building of the Year) Award in the renovated building category by BOMA International. As a Regional TOBY Award winner, the property has advanced to compete in 14 categories for the highest honor of the BOMA International TOBY Award. The TOBY Regional Award was presented on March 22at the Middle Atlantic Regional Conference of BOMA in Baltimore. The International TOBY Award will be presented on June 25 at the Annual BOMA Convention in San Diego.

The building has also been designated as a BOMA 360 Performance Building through a program that validates and recognizes commercial properties that demonstrate best practices in building operations and management. The program evaluates properties in six major areas: building operations and management; life safety/security/risk management; training and education of building personnel; energy management; environmental/sustainability performance; and tenant relations and community involvement.

Renovation of the McPherson Building began in 2007, with the expiration of a major tenant’s lease. Viewing this as an opportunity to reposition the building, the owner invested approximately $35 million in improvements and renovations, which were completed in the first quarter of 2011. Notable renovations and improvements include: build-out of all office tenant spaces from shell; renovation of lobby by opening space to second floor and adding a two-story glass entrance; creation of new façade by removing balconies, adding a glass curtain wall system and replacing the existing 11th and 12th-floor curtain wall system to create executive office and conference areas; creation of an additional 4,800 sq. ft. of rentable space by bringing a balcony area into the building envelope; renovation of common areas and restrooms; new elevator cab finishes; a new roof; replacement of the cooling tower and the addition of outside air fans; a new fitness center; new retail storefronts; a security system upgrade and renovation of parking entrance and elevator lobbies.

Malkin Properties’ MerrittView Attains Energy Star Status for Third Time

MerrittView, Malkin Properties’ trophy office building in Norwalk, Conn., has earned Energy Star designation for the third time. MerrittView is the second building in the Malkin Properties portfolio to earn Energy Star recognition this year. 500 Mamaroneck Avenue earned its third consecutive award in January.

Among Malkin Properties’ major sustainable initiative accomplishments so far are: more efficient energy usage; water use reduction; better indoor environmental quality; recycling of tenant waste and construction debris; use of green pest control and cleaning solutions; and use of recycled content carpeting and low/no off-gassing wall coverings and adhesives.

Transwestern Awarded 150,000-SF LEED Gold Medical Office Lease in Katy, Texas

Transwestern’sHouston headquarters has been awarded the leasing assignment for Katy Medical Plaza, a 150,000-sq.-ft., three-building medical office campus under construction in Katy, Texas. Construction on the first building is under way and is on schedule for a July 2013 delivery. The property has been certified LEED Gold.

The development is located at the corner of Kingsland Boulevard and Cobia Drive with easy access to both the Grand Parkway and Katy Freeway. The site for the medical complex was selected based on its proximity to five major hospital systems, as well as its position within one of the highest suburban growth areas in the country.

Renewable Energy Investment Firm’s Second Lease Renewal at Malkin Properties’ Ten Bank Street, White Plains, N.Y.

US Renewables Group LLC, a national investment firm focused exclusively on renewable energy industries, has extended its lease for the second time at Ten Bank Street in White Plains, N.Y., according to Malkin Properties, the marketing and managing agent for the building.

Based in Santa Monica, Calif., USRG maintains its Eastern regional offices at Ten Bank Street, occupying about 2,200 sq. ft. on the fifth floor. The tenant moved into the building in 2006 and signed its first renewal in 2010.

Founded in 2003, USRG manages over $750 million of capital invested in the renewable power, biofuels and renewable infrastructure sectors. The investments range from early-stage developments to acquisitions of operating assets. The firm typically takes controlling interests in its assets and can commit funds across the entire capital structure.

Solis Partners Completes 1.82 MW Solar Installation at N.J. Distribution Center

Solis Partners, a commercial solar developer, recently completed a 1.82 MW rooftop solar electric system at Freeze’s manufacturing and distribution facility in Dayton, N.J. The firm designed, engineered and constructed the solar PV system on the roof of the 320,000-sq.-ft. facility. The system operates under a full-service PPA allowing Freeze to receive all the benefits of onsite solar electric generation without any capital cost.

The solar array consists of 6,994 panels that will generate more than 2.1 million kilowatt hours of clean energy in the first year or about 80 percent of Freeze’s annual electricity needs. Over the life of the system, this will equate to the reduction of more than 35,000 metric tons of CO2 gas emissions roughly equivalent to the impact of taking 7,300 cars off the road.

Established in 1986, Freeze designs, sells, manufactures and distributes licensed and private label clothing to retail. With a New York City showroom, a state-of-the-art distribution facility in New Jersey and satellite offices overseas, Freeze is vertically geared to bring high-quality products to the marketplace quickly and sustainably at affordable prices.

300 Tower Parkway, Lincolnshire, Ill. Certified LEED Silver

Developer and manager Van Vlissingen and Co. announced that its office building at 300 Tower Parkway in Lincolnshire Corporate Center, Lincolnshire, Ill., has been awarded LEED Silver certification.

The five-story, 175,545-sq.-ft. class-A office headquarters building located in Lincolnshire, Ill. is currently being offered for lease with occupancy available in the third quarter of 2013.

Some of the sustainable and eco-friendly features of the building include a highly-efficient HVAC system, MERV 13 air filtration and regular air quality testing of the indoor environment, an innovative irrigation system utilizing storm water runoff, water efficient plumbing fixtures, T-8 lighting, comprehensive recycling programs and high-performance green cleaning programs. Also, environmentally-friendly landscaping and pest control policies have been implemented campus-wide.

Van Vlissingen and Co. develop and manage award-winning Illinois corporate parks in Southern Lake County, including: The Corporate Woods inVernon Hills, Lincolnshire Corporate Center and The Corporate Grove in Buffalo Grove.

EPA Names Top Cities with Most Energy Star Buildings

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has listed the Top 25 metropolitan areas in the country with the most Energy Star-certified buildings in 2012. By the end of 2012, the more than 20,000 Energy Star-certified buildings in cities across America helped save over $2.7 billion in annual utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual electricity use of more than 2 million homes.

Los Angeles took first place for the fifth year in a row, with 528 Energy Star-certified buildings totaling 112.5 million sq. ft., which saved $134.8 million in annual energy costs and prevented emissions equal to 52,300 homes annual electric use. Los Angeles was followed by (2) Washington, D.C.; (3) Chicago; (4) New York; (5) Atlanta; (6) San Francisco; (7) Houston; (8) Dallas; (9) Phoenix; (10) Boston; (11) Philadelphia; (12) Denver; (13) Cincinnati; (14) Charlotte, N.C. and Minneapolis-St. Paul; (15) San Diego; (16) San Jose; (17) Seattle; (18) Miami; (19) Detroit; (20) Sacramento; (21) Indianapolis; (22) Albuquerque; (23) Kansas City, Mo. and Portland, Ore.; (24) Riverside, Calif.; and, lastly, (25) Virginia Beach, Va. with 67 Energy Star-certified buildings totaling 6.4 million sq. ft., saving $4.1 million per year in energy costs and preventing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 3,700 homes’ annual electric usage.