Going Green 101
Dustin C. Gellman, CCIM, chief executive officer of GreenPoint Partners in
Chicago, and former CCIM President Richard E. Juge, CCIM, SIOR, cofounder of
GreenPoint Partners and president of Re/Max Commercial Brokers in Metairie,
La., discussed some of the practical concerns of working with sustainable
properties. An edited version of this conversation appeared as a sidebar in
“Sustainable Momentum,” a feature article in the September/October issue of CIRE.
exactly is a green building?
Juge: “Greening” a commercial building may include a broad range
of initiatives designed to reduce resource consumption and increase cash flow --
including efficiency retrofits, solar installations, and water or waste
reduction. When appropriate, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and Energy Star certification may follow to provide
third-party verification that such measures were enacted.
buildings offer the best opportunities for “going green?”
Gellman: The strongest candidates typically fit some of the
in metro areas with high energy costs and favorable incentives;
is 20,000-plus square feet with a $40,000-plus annual utility spend;
fit use types are office, industrial, hospitality, healthcare, and
specific use; retail and multifamily sometimes work;
tenants with gross leases, or single-tenant net-lease;
- Owners or
tenants with healthy credit and no financial distress;
prior to 2005 for energy-efficiency retrofits;
unobstructed rooftops for solar installations;
- And class
A or B properties for LEED certification.
Other factors may include the owner’s
position in the asset life cycle (buy, hold, sell), local attitudes toward
sustainability, current or pending legislation, eco-conscious tenants, and the
decision maker’s access to capital.
the process when pursuing a sustainability project for an existing building?
Juge: While each situation
is unique, many projects follow a similar path:
1) Analyze Your
- Have an
- Get an
2) Reduce Energy
3) Generate Renewable
solar, wind, or geothermal.
to specific properties in select geographic markets.
4) Get Financing and
funding for capital projects.
5) Demonstrate Success
- Get LEED
and Energy Star certifications.
and verify savings.
progress to internal and external stakeholders.
role can CCIM members play in the process?
Juge: Clients need solutions –- energy costs are rising,
time-sensitive incentives are available, tenants are demanding green space, and
governments are introducing new legislation. CCIM members have an opportunity
to increase client services and add value by helping clients navigate
sustainability initiatives. Green building initiatives are best evaluated on a
T-bar and articulated by a trusted adviser, and CCIM members are
well-positioned to help clients understand that.
sustainability is complex. Technology, incentives, and laws change quickly.
Solutions require multidisciplinary expertise, and clients often don’t have the
internal resources to pursue green buildings. CCIM members can offer energy and
sustainability services as a means to differentiate from peers, win new
business, and ultimately do more transactions.
are a lot of green building consulting companies out there. What’s unique about
Gellman: Our company is divided 50-50 between commercial real estate
experts and energy engineers. Thus, we can articulate the value proposition to
building owners in terms that they’re familiar with -- cash flows. We don’t
represent product manufacturers or utilities, so we eliminate the potential
bias that is often prominent in the industry. Finally, we take a holistic
approach that includes saving energy, water, and waste, as well as making
To learn more about commercial real estate’s
current take on sustainable properties, read “Sustainable Momentum,” in the
SeptemberOctober 2011 CIRE. For more information on GreenPoint Partners,