News of the Day

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Find Space Now! Seattle Times Daily Journal of Commerce Headline
Our lease listings State takes aim at practices of loan ‘wolf’ GSA comes to Seattle looking for next big green building thing
Our sale listings Builder outlook falls ahead of spring season The U.S. General Services Administration is starting to build a LEED gold district headquarters for the Corps of Engineers in south Seattle that is intended to be one of the most efficient buildings of its type in the country, but GSA wants to go further.

Yesterday, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson was in Seattle to get ideas from local sustainability experts.

Johnson held a roundtable discussion to hear about what’s working and what needs to change.

“We are always looking for how to think about the next things that we need to tap,” she said. “This (type of meeting) enriches our policy and our strategy conversation.”

Joining Johnson were Kevin Kampschroer of GSA; Tony Gale, corporate architect for Starbucks; Doug Moore, president of McKinstry; Margaret Montgomery, principal and director of sustainability at NBBJ; Clara Simon, sustainability manager in the Capital Projects Office at the University of Washington; Joel Loveland, director of the UW’s Integrated Design Lab; and Jason McLennan, CEO of the Cascadia Green Building Council.

Loveland said the Northwest has done a good job making incremental improvements in areas like energy use. But cutting-edge approaches — like net-zero energy buildings that produce all the energy they use in a year or living buildings that provide energy, treat water and abide by strict material rules — will require radical change.

To reach bigger goals, he said we need to change how we think about buildings and our return on investment.

Rather than only concentrating on low investments with quick paybacks, he said CEOs and decision makers must set bigger goals and use bundling as a way to add systems and technologies that have a longer payback.

In 2008, Starbucks wanted to install LED lights in its stores but could not find the right product. It worked with GE to create a product that is now used in 6,000 Starbucks stores. Gale said the LED lights save about $8.5 million a year, which is about the cost of installing them, creating an 18-month payback.

Once they go into all of the chain’s 17,000 stores, the lights will save even more energy. Starbucks’ support helped GE bring a new product to market.

Many investors look at items with a five-year payback. Ideally, Loveland said things that produce quick savings like the LED lights should be bundled with a more expensive, efficient technology, such as installing better compressors on coolers.

Gale said that’s the goal. First, he said Starbucks needs to reduce energy use as much as possible before it can consider on-site generation. One of the first stores to employ on-site generation is in Kyoto, Japan. Starbucks has 16 LEED-certified stores around the world. By the end of this year, it will have about 200.

McLennan said the industry has made a good business case for a level of green building performance that he called “entirely inadequate.” Now, the industry needs to figure out how to add other things that are harder to measure, like how a building impacts health and productivity, or improves water use.

Depending on the market, experts say buildings certified to meet LEED silver or gold can be built at no additional cost if certification is considered early enough in the design process.

Montgomery said cross-disciplinary collaboration is key to making any significant changes in green buildings. The industry is getting better, she said, but some people still aren’t comfortable working as a team.

Kampschoroer said GSA has a goal of having net-zero buildings by 2020 and is developing two now: renovation of the 92-year-old Wayne Aspinall Federal Building and Courthouse in Grand Junction, Colo., and the San Ysidro U.S. Land Port of Entry between Mexico and the U.S., designed by Seattle’s Miller Hull Partnership.

(Editor’s note: This story has been changed to correct the location of the San Ysidro border crossing.)

Existing buildings, he said, need to be renovated to use 70 percent or 80 percent less energy than they use now.

Kampschoroer said GSA has learned a lot from projects built with federal stimulus funds and said the 300 projects it funded will impact how it designs, renovates, constructs and operates buildings in the future.

Because projects funded by the stimulus must publicly share information, he said it motivated all the design teams involved to improve their buildings and beat the targets.

“Everything that we are doing today is focused on not setting minimum targets,” he said, “but setting aspirational goals and saying ‘how can we challenge people to beat these knowing that there is no money.’”

Our local office profile Condo projects reborn
Green broker info
Market Research Puget Sound Business Journal
Knowledge center Intermec’s Everett headquarters up for lease
Research reports Mastro trial starts this morning
Articles & white papers Look up Washington state’s wineries
Weekly market insight
2011 forecast Seattle-PI.com
Enjoy Your Reading! Unemployment falls in two-thirds of states
Commercial Property Executive Space Needle: ‘The doodle that changed Seattle forever’
Daily Journal of Commerce Boeing announces solar plan for SC assembly plant
CoStar Group
GlobeSt Other News
National RE Investor Americans Shun Cheapest Homes in 40 Years as Owning Loses Appeal
Realty News Report Housing Starts in U.S. Increased 7.2% in March to 549,000 Pace
Real Estate Business Hong Kong Office Rents Jump to Twice London’s
Reis 21 Apartments, 9 Townhomes Sell for $2.9M
Wall Street Journal South Hill North Data Center Earns LEED Gold
New York Times Commercial real estate’s improving health exceeds forecasts
Weekly Market Insight
Broad Dollar Index
Dollar Vs. Currencies of Broad Group of Trading Partners

Source: Federal Reserve, Grubb & Ellis

After a multi-decade run of appreciation, the U.S. dollar has fallen in value by some 26 percent since 2002 against the currencies of a large group of major U.S. trading partners. The dollar spiked during the credit crisis of late 2008 and early 2009 as investors piled into safe U.S. Treasuries, only to resume its decline when the worst of the crisis passed. The weak dollar reflects the U.S. economy’s sluggish growth prospects relative to other countries where interest rates are higher. It also reflects expansionary monetary policies pursued by the Federal Reserve to stimulate the economy, i.e. policies to keep interest rates low, and it may reflect negative investor sentiment over high levels of deficit spending by the federal government. The weak dollar benefits U.S. exporters by making their wares cheaper for overseas buyers, but on the negative side, it contributes to inflationary pressures in markets that import U.S. goods, and it could be a harbinger of inflation in the U.S., already evident in gas and food prices. For commercial real estate, the weak dollar has stimulated demand for industrial properties by exporters, but if gas and food prices continue to rise, the weak dollar is likely to dampen core retail sales (which exclude gas and food) and, by extension, leasing activity in shopping centers. The weak dollar makes U.S. properties more affordable for overseas investors, which could add to the already-strong demand for Class A properties in primary, supply constrained markets – the niche most favored by these investors.

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About CRE Northwest

Specialist in office & investment real estate in Seattle & the Eastside
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