[building smarter]
Shades of Green
Center for Real Estate puts conservation on front burner
by Barbara Davenport

Norm Miller wants the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate as green as he can make it. The nationally known real estate scholar arrived last fall as the center’s new director of academic programs, with an agenda that includes research and teaching initiatives that place green development into the local and national real estate conversation.

High on Miller’s agenda is his own research, which examines the incentives and barriers to green building in commercial real estate. He presented those findings at “Is It Easy Being Green?,” a fall 2007 seminar for real estate executives, developers, contractors, lenders, investors, and civic and governmental leaders. He plans to expand his study, including more costs and other variables, and publish it as a monograph.

The center will also start The Journal of Sustainable Real Estate, publishing research on the economics of sustainable building practices.

“We’d also like to sponsor an annual conference and work toward making the center’s work a national resource,” Miller says.

That effort includes building a matrix of all the organizations and entities involved in the field.

Miller cites the Chula Vista Project, where Burnham-Moores professors Lou Galuppo and Charles Tu are part of a major research effort in sustainable community development, one that’s already yielding classroom dividends.

A joint project of the Burnham-Moores Center, the state of California, the city of Chula Vista and the U.S. Department of Energy, the nationally recognized effort will develop a design for energy-efficient community development. The goal is to present a set of practices that will be easily transferable for all phases of development.

Galuppo aims to delineate the barriers to green development and propose possible solutions. He’s talking to real estate professionals as well as to players in labor, private industry, government and environmental organizations, and evaluating financial markets.

“I’m learning green development from all these perspectives,” Galuppo says. “And all of it comes back into the classroom when I teach.”