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Planning to Build Green

By Kent Bernhard, Jr.
Green News & Sustainable Business News
July 14, 2008


Projects around the country show green building gaining steam from San Francisco
to Orlando and points in between.

In San Francisco, the economic slowdown hasn't crimped plans by GLL Development
& Management to erect a twenty-story, super-green skyscraper at 350 Mission
Street. That tower, the San Francisco Business Times reports, could also be the
first in the city to use non-biodegradeable materials like plastic bottles and
styrofoam instead of concrete for some of the construction.

GLL is looking for planning approvals of the building early next year, with
construction set to begin sometime in mid-2009. David Wall, president of GLL,
tells the Business Times it's the right time to forge ahead with a green office tower.

"Right now my charter is to have it partially pre-leased, about 30 percent,"
said Wall. "However, it is possible that I will get approval to go spec. If the
city gave me approval today, I would push very hard to go spec because I think
we're in the right cycle."

Every new office building in San Francisco is shooting for certification under
the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
program. But GLL's plan is to go further than others.

The company is committed to getting a Gold rating and is shooting to build one
of the first carbon neutral buildings on the West Coast. The building will
include the basic, and increasingly common, features of green design -- bicycle
parking, HVAC systems that heat and cool only occupied areas, rainwater
harvesting systems. GLL also hopes to use material being developed by Skidmore
Owings and Merrill Engineers developed from post-consumer recycled goods for
construction.

At the tower, such material could equal 600 truckloads of concrete.

Building industrial parks green

It's not just swank office towers in San Francisco getting the green treatment,
as a trio of planned Florida industrial projects show.

Atlanta developer Oakmont Industrial Group is planning its first LEED-certified
project on the East Coast, an 872,000-square-foot building called the NorthPort
Logistics Center, near the port of Jacksonville, that city's business journal
reports.

To get the LEED certification, the building will have to cut power consumption
by 20 percent, outdoor water use by 50 percent, indoor water consumption by 20
percent and slash construction waste from landfills by 75 percent.

The Orlando Business Journal reports that two industrial park projects in rural
Osceola County, Fla., will seek LEED certification. One of them, the Yeehaw
Transportation & Distribution Center, would be a 1.2-million-square-foot
industrial park on land where the owner previously tried and failed to get
approval for a concrete plant.

That project is also next door to a development being called America's first
sustainable city, the 40-square-mile Destiny project. Randy Johnson, COO of
Destiny, told the business journal he would be happy to have the industrial park
if it's green.

"The idea of a sustainable industrial park sounds like a great idea," Johnson
said. "If it comes to fruition, it will be a great addition."

Long struggle to create green campus

But when you're talking about a big building project, even a green one, going
from the drawing board to reality isn't an easy process, as the Thornburg Campus
in Santa Fe shows.

That campus is about 65 percent complete, but only after a 3-year battle with
neighborhood activists who thought it was too big. During that time, the cost of
the project rose, thanks to soaring construction materials prices, New Mexico
Business Weekly reports.

"We saw a greater increase -- driven globally -- than at any other time in
history," said Shirley Anderson, business development manager for Klinger
Constructors LLC, general contractor for the project.

 

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