LEEDers of the Pack
These CCIMs found even more ways to go green
As sustainable design gains a foothold in the commercial real estate sector, many industry professionals see this as a chance to become knowledgeable on all things green. While buildings can earn the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, commercial real estate pros also can earn the LEED Professional Accreditation designation.
Commercial Investment Real Estate spoke with these five CCIMs to learn why they pursued the USGBC’s professional green building accreditation.
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Why did you decide to pursue the LEED AP accreditation?
Gunderson: For me, it was my long-standing interest in sustainable living. Our industry has the potential to effect change, and I felt compelled to be a part of this positive action.
Jeppesen: I decided that sustainability was something I wanted to incorporate into my practice. I was involved with five building projects in the mid-1990s that implemented some green features and thought that it was a smart approach for the environment and that it could potentially increase marketing opportunities.
Wong: Every time I picked up a magazine or newspaper there was an article about the need to build green and today many state and local leaders are beginning to take notice. Arizona’s three state universities have pledged to go green. [The cities of] Tucson and Oro Valley, Ariz., also have adopted policies that new buildings must meet LEED standards. With all this interest -- my own, my colleagues, investors, clients, and friends -- I decided it was time to learn more about building green.
Livingston: USGBC, LEED, and sustainable practices have become common buzzwords in the development field over the past few years. I attended a class on sustainable development so I could talk knowledgeably with architects, contractors, engineers, planning officials, brokers, and end users about the LEED certification process, operation savings, and environmental benefits. I also read Greed to Green by David Gottfried, founder of the USGBC.
I was surprised to learn the sustainability movement is not against development, that a green building design does not necessarily need to cost more than a traditional building, and that when designed correctly, these buildings can operate much more efficiently, producing savings that can offset initial investments or go straight to the bottom line.
I also managed the development process for a LEED building that was precertified gold through the USGBC’s core and shell pilot program. To understand the nuances of a green building and interpret what the architect and environmental consultants were presenting during the design process, I felt I really needed to go through the process of becoming a LEED AP.
Murphy: I was pursing my master’s in real estate from the University of Denver, and one of their specialized courses was on sustainable buildings. One of the course requirements was to complete three research papers on the topic or pass the LEED AP test. This course provided considerable insight into the green building concept and knowledge to assist me in understanding the possible benefits of increasing value in the real property improvements.