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Oct. 30 Green Building Summit Provides Forum for Discussion
|Message||More than 200 industry and civic leaders attended the "Is It Easy Being Green?" conference co-hosted by the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate and the city of San Diego, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and CleanTECH San Diego, held Oct. 30 at the University of San Diego. |
The conference began with an announcement by Mark Riedy, the center's executive director, that the university will soon be joining the San Diego Regional Sustainability Partnership, which is a collaborative organization aimed at reducing pollution, enacting energy savings and improving the quality of life in the San Diego region.
Taking a break from the aftermath of the previous week's wildfires, Mayor Jerry Sanders then addressed the need for balance between development and environment. "Very predictable things came out of the fire," Sanders said. "One group said, 'If we could just pave, if we could just cut back brush, then none on this would have happened. The other group said, 'If you hadn't been building in natural habitat, none of this would have happened. There's a balance in there—I'm absolutely certain of it."
Sanders said that the need for an integrated approach is particularly vital given the state's increasing population.
"We know that people are not going to leave California," Sanders said, citing a projection that the state will be home to 50 million people by 2025. "That is simply not going to happen."
Panelist Sandra Mendler, a sustainable design principal at HOK, said that another safe assumption is that energy use in the United States will continue to increase. "We are poised to see continuing increases in energy demand over the next 25 years," said Mendler, whose firm is one of the leaders in sustainable design in America. "We're looking in the United States at a predicted increase of 34 percent and worldwide at a projected increase of 62 percent."
Given that buildings are the largest consumers of electricity in the United States, Mendler said it's essential to look at areas of efficiency. "Energy generation in this country is less efficient today than it was in 1900," she said. "More than half of all energy use by buildings is due to electrical losses." Mendler said that builders have a huge opportunity for improvement, considering 75 percent of all U.S. buildings will be new or renovated by 2035.
Planning, Commitment and Vision
Matt Reid, vice president of development at the Ryan Companies, says his company has been integrating sustainable principles for the past seven years through the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification process. His advice to those thinking about incorporating green development is to be aware that it's a significant undertaking. "You can't just go out one day and say, 'I'm going to be a LEED developer,'" he told the audience. "It takes planning, commitment and vision."
Reid said that, despite the common industry belief that green building is cost-prohibitive, his company has actually discovered cost savings in sustainable design.
Other developers said that the incremental costs of building green were worth the investment, given the impact that energy-efficient buildings had on employee recruitment, retention and productivity.
Michael Gion, site development manager at Intuit, says his company spent about 2 percent more to build its new Carmel Valley campus according to LEED standards. Gion says that the company was uncertain of what the additional costs would be going into the project, but went down the path anyway because of the positive impact it would have on the software developer's human resources. "In the tech world, there's a big sensitivity to attracting and retaining employees," Gion said. "Our people are everything we have. The real benefit is how our employees embraced this new facility and how they feel about it."
Norm Miller, director of academic programs at the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, offered hard cost calculations for building green.
Research conducted by Miller and Jay Spivey, research director at CoStar, compared 435 "green" and 238,808 "other" Class A Office Buildings across the country. They found, as announced by Miller at the conference, that:
"The big hurdles are mental," he said. "Just think about what it takes to get the typical American construction worker to use three or four different bins to throw away their trash. That's a big hurdle."
All presentations from the Oct. 30 conference can be found on the Burnham-Moores Center's Web site, http://www.usdrealestate.com/.
|Contact||Meghan Bokath | Mbokath@sandiego.edu | 619-260-2379|
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