The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), which measures sustainability performance of the international real estate investment industry, has announced that its 2013 survey is open for responses. This year’s survey is the fourth one undertaken by the organization. The survey’s information is used by some of the industry’s largest institutional investors, investment managers and property companies to analyze their sustainability performance.

GRESB undertakes an annual survey each year, focusing on the sustainability performance of real estate investments measured at the portfolio level. The survey consists of approximately 50 questions based on input from investors about what matters to them when examining sustainability issues. The survey’s purpose is to evaluate real estate companies’ and funds’ performance and inform investors of the success and progress of initiatives to improve their sustainability. GRESB’s global membership includes more than 40 institutional real estate investors and investment managers, plus all the major real estate industry associations and a large number of consultants and product vendors.

Over the three previous years that GRESB has undertaken its survey, response to the survey has increased substantially from 200 companies and funds in 2009 to more than 450 in 2012. GRESB covers seven unique sustainability aspects, which address environmental issues as well as approaches to management, policy and disclosure, building certifications, sustainability risk management and stakeholder engagement.

Participants may complete the survey online via GRESB’s online portal, which remains open until July 1, 2013. GRESB will spend the summer analyzing the data and will publish the results in the first week of September. In addition to the publicly available annual GRESB report, GRESB members and survey participants receive individual results that detail their respective funds’ and firms’ performance.

Las Vegas Convention Center Cuts Energy Consumption by 40 Percent

The Las Vegas Convention Center has reduced costs in its 3.2-million-sq.-ft. facility by installing high-bay luminaires, dual-lamp technology, solid-state electronic ballasts and a state-of-the-art thermal management system to deliver better light quality, distribution and energy savings in its central exhibit halls.

Using two 315-watt ceramic metal halide lamps, the high-efficacy DualBay luminaire delivers a 90+ color rendering index and up to 112 lumens per watt. The light levels in the central exhibit halls now range from 60 to 85 foot-candles with greater intensity in areas with lower ceilings. The fixtures are mounted up to 40 ft. and positioned so light patterns overlap to eliminate the possibilities of dark areas. An automated computer system controls the lighting. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority plans to add an estimated 1,400 fixtures in two additional halls.

Retrofit of Historic San Francisco Building Saves $1M in Energy Costs

The Flood Building, a historic downtown San Francisco office and retail building, has been retrofitted to save tenants over $1 million in lifetime energy costs, while eliminating 870 tons of carbon emissions per year over the project’s 12-to-15-year lifespan.

Carbon Lighthouse, a privately held San Francisco company that helps buildings become carbon neutral, completed the retrofit of the landmark building, which was built in 1904 and survived both the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes. The 12-story, 300,000-sq.-ft. Flood Building’s tenants include flagship stores for Gap, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. The building’s property managing agent, Wilson Meany, entered into partnership with Carbon Lighthouse in late 2012 to unlock additional energy-saving opportunities. The building had already undergone extensive energy-efficiency upgrades that made it more efficient than 75 percent of similar commercial buildings. In the project’s first year, the building’s tenants will receive a 15 percent reduction in utility costs, which is the equivalent of a lifetime savings of $4 per sq. ft. Three types of improvements were undertaken: installing a computerized central management system to give management increased visibility and control over operations; improving the HVAC system by optimizing the balance between the speed of the building’s condenser water pumps and the temperature of the water flowing through them and completing a number of lighting improvements, replacing and updating lighting throughout the building.

Reckson/SL Green Achieves Gold at Conn. Office Building

500 West Putnam Avenue, a 121,000-sq.-ft., four-story office building in Greenwich, Conn., has achieved LEED-EB Gold certification. Reckson, a division of SL Green, announced that the building has also received the Energy Star label for three consecutive years and is one of only two buildings in Connecticut to receive LEED-EB Gold.

Bijou Properties Launches Green Loft Residences in Hoboken

The Edge Lofts, a collection of 35 sustainable, boutique rental residences at 1405 Clinton Street in northern Hoboken, has been launched. The six-story building features modern loft-style apartments, a private garden terrace, an artist gallery and several green features that have the property on pace to receive LEED for Homes Platinum certification.

A mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom residences with rents starting at $2,645 per month, The Edge Lofts offers a 100 percent non-smoking and pet-friendly environment. It features a virtual doorman system, 2,500-sq.-ft. common terrace; residents’ lounge with WiFi, flat-screen TV, kitchenette and wet bar and children’s play area; package room for deliveries; cold storage area; bicycle racks and on-site parking garage. Each resident features 10-ft. ceilings and 8-ft. doorways, reclaimed antique oak hardwood and Italian recycled tile flooring, central heat and air conditioning, stainless steel Frigidaire Energy Star appliances, Ceaserstone countertops, ducted range exhaust fans and cast-iron Kohler Bellwether bathtubs. Most homes include private balconies and terraces. The homes also feature open cell spray foam insulation, fresh air filtration systems and zero-VOC paint. The 14th Street New York Waterway Ferry is within walking distance.

Regency Centers’ 2012 “greengenuity” Metrics Show Sustainable Improvements

Through its “greengenuity” program, Regency Centers, a national owner, operator and developer of grocery-anchored and community shopping centers, increased its annual energy savings by 75 percent, achieved LEED certification for three projects, plus began seeking LEED certification for half of its new starts, and tripled the amount of construction and demolition that the firm recycles in 2012.

Regency measures its greengenuity progress through steady improvement in five key areas: green building certification, energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy and waste reduction.

Last year three Regency projects—Market at Colonnade in Raleigh, N.C.; Mariano’s Fresh Market at redeveloped Roscoe Square in Chicago; and redeveloped Granada Village in Los Angeles. The firm’s energy-efficient lighting projects saved 3.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity, a 75 percent increase over 2011. Water savings remained consistent at 106 million gallons through smart water management practices. Regency also installed its first solar energy system at Shops at Saugus, a Boston-area shopping center, which generated 296,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy within the year. More than 13,522 tons of construction debris was reused or recycled, a 354 percent improvement over 2011.

HGA Wins 2013 Sustainable Quality Awards—Twice

HGA Architects and Engineers won two 2013 Sustainable Quality Awards—for Excellence in Social Responsibility and Excellence in Stewardship of the Natural Environment in the Sustainable Quality Awards program, sponsored by Sustainable Santa Monica/City of Santa Monica’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and Sustainable Works.

In the Social Responsibility category, HGA was acknowledged for creating a positive work environment, providing job and internship opportunities within the community and sponsoring philanthropic efforts. In the Stewardship of the Natural Environment category, the firm was recognized for its Zero-Plus principle, which takes a comprehensive approach to sustainable design that includes designing to performance targets in five key areas: energy, carbon, water, waste and materials. These principles promote renewable energy sources to reduce carbon emissions, renew freshwater sources, utilize waste as a resource and integrate low-impact materials.

Atlanta Tower Earns BOMA 360 Designation

55 Allen Plaza, a class-A, 350,000-sq.-ft. office tower that opened in 2007 in downtown Atlanta, has been designated a BOMA 360 Performance Building. The property, which earned LEED Gold certification in 2012, is managed and leased by Lincoln Property Co. Southeast. The BOMA 360 program recognizes commercial properties that demonstrate best practices in building operations and management. Fewer than 50 buildings in Georgia have earned this designation.

Overlooking the Downtown Connector on downtown Atlanta’s northern edge, 55 Allen Plaza provides tenants with access to all of Atlanta’s submarkets. As part of the Allen Plaza mixed-use development, the building is surrounded by restaurants, the W-Atlanta Downtown Hotel & Residences, retail and Centennial Olympic Park. The building’s major tenants are Ernst & Young, Skanska and design firm ASD.