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Sustainable Development Update
June 9, 2017

Sustainable Development Focus

Green building in U.S. luxury developments continues to flourish

Mansion Global - May 29 In recent years, luxury real estate developers and architects in the U.S. have been increasingly utilizing advances in green building technology and carbon neutral energy programs, while engaging more with the outdoor environment and using cleaner air systems and paint. This trend has been supported by local, state, and federal initiatives, which have created more stringent environmental regulations and tax subsidies for green buildings. According to Marisa Long, vice president of Public Relations and Communications for the USGBC, there are currently 24,109 LEED-certified homes across the country, totaling 273,059 residential units and more than 365 million green square feet. The number of LEED-certified projects continues to increase, with Texas, California, and New York carrying the most projects. According to Ms. Long, by 2018, green construction will account for more than 3.3 million jobs in the U.S., which is more than one-third of the construction sector.


International WELL Building Institute launches WELL Portfolio

Facility Executive - May 31 CBRE Group, Inc., Hines, and Lendlease are collaborating with the International WELL Building Institute to deliver WELL Portfolio, a new cost-effective, existing building portfolio certification pathway within the WELL Building Standard. This new pathway will reward a commitment to ongoing enhancements to existing buildings, with specific focus on policies, programs, procurement guidelines, and plans that can be applied across a portfolio of buildings. The WELL Building Standard is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact the health and wellness of the people who live, work, and learn in the buildings. 

California closer to creating energy storage rebate for utility customers

Energy Storage News - Jun 5 The Senate last Friday approved a bill that would provide rebates to customers for the purchase of energy storage systems, bringing the legislation a step closer to passage. The bill, SB 700, also known as the Energy Storage Initiative, was introduced by Democratic Senator Scott Wiener, along with SB 71, which is a mandate for new buildings to include rooftop solar in their construction. Both passed the Senate by a 23-13 vote and are now to be passed over to the State Assembly for consideration. SB 700 is designed to encourage the use of energy storage to load shift solar, particularly for use at night. Smoothing and shifting solar generation loads into the late afternoon and early evening would cut into that difficult peak of demand, when normally solar would not be able to cover it.

Gov. Jerry Brown says California wants China’s help on electric vehicles

Los Angeles Times - Jun 5 Governor Jerry Brown gave his usual rally cry in Nanjing’s environmental conference on Monday, imploring the packed ballroom to help reinforce a global commitment to climate change. But a more specific theme also emerged, an undercurrent in his five-night trip that he has echoed in several meetings with officials: Brown is looking to China for the future of California’s electric vehicles. The state aims to put 4 million to 5 million electric cars on roads by 2030. Brown emphasized a partnership again when signing a clean-tech agreement with the Communist Party head of Jiangsu province. He told reporters that he highlighted the issue with Sichuan officials a day earlier, and stressed battery and electric car improvement as a tangible goal to reduce carbon pollution. 

Watt Plaza recertified to LEED Platinum level

Commercial Property Executive - May 30 The twin 23-story office tower located at 1875-1925 Century Park East in Los Angeles has earned the highest level of LEED certification for the second time. The Platinum LEED-awarded property, the first building in Century City to achieve the recognition, exceeded its previous Platinum performance by five points due to ongoing improvements and sustainability commitments from all vendors servicing the building. Watt Plaza is the first commercial office building in Century City to install electric vehicle charging stations in its parking facility. The property was successful in realizing a reduction of more than 31 percent in conventional transportation trips through an Alternative Commuting Transportation program. In addition, the property installed a white roof to reduce the “heat island effect” as part of its Sustainable Site Development measures. Another sustainable achievement is Watt Plaza’s 66 percent reduction in annual landscape water use compared to the regional average. 

Dallas retail store will be world's first to generate more power than it uses

Bisnow - Jun 1 Home improvement retailer TreeHouse last Friday opened the world’s first retail store to produce more energy than it uses. The Dallas store sells more sustainable versions of products such as paint, windows, lighting systems, flooring, and landscaping. Many products come from recycled materials, are free of toxins, or integrate automation. TreeHouse mirrors those philosophies in its own retail footprint. A Tesla power pack battery stores harvested solar energy at the store to redistribute when needed, and to put excess energy back into the grid. All of its plants are native species and watered from harvested rainwater. 

U.S. residential solar market slides for the first time in 16 years

Bloomberg - Jun 1 The U.S. residential solar market is projected to contract in 2017 after at least 16 straight years of growth, reflecting a shift in sales strategies by some major installers and increasing pressure from utilities to adjust incentives. Installers will add 2,263 megawatts of residential systems this year, down about 2.4 percent from 2,319 megawatts in 2016, according to a report released Thursday from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The contraction comes as companies including Tesla Inc.’s SolarCity unit and Vivint Solar Inc. see a growing number of customers opting to buy their rooftop systems instead of signing the no-money-down leases that have been a significant growth driver. 

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