Green building flourishes in U.S. luxury developments
The lobby at Citizen360, a wellness-focused condominium on the Upper East Side of New York City. Photo by Redundant Pixel
In recent years, luxury real estate developers and architects in the United States, have been increasingly using 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 strident environmental regulations and tax subsidies for green buildings, reports Mansion Global.
Green standards are here to stay
Marcos Corti, CEO of Consultatio, the developer behind the Oceana, an environmentally friendly building in Bal Harbour, Fla., said green design is here to stay.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it is a series of certifications that buildings meet. According to Marisa Long, vice president of public relations and communications with the United States Green Building Council, 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.
Long said LEED will endure especially because it makes economic sense.
"Green buildings also play a significant role in supporting the mitigation of climate change while continuing to showcase a clear path to job creation and economic prosperity.”
In cities such as New York and Miami, local policy is very important, and strict regulation of energy at the local level has driven innovation.
New York City “has one of the most stringent energy codes in the country that drives innovation and savings more than federal incentive,” said Dan Kaplan, a senior partner at FXFOWLE, the architect behind a new, eco-friendly building on Central Park, Circa Central Park.
The new mixed-use Brickell City Centre in Miami has among many green innovative features, a “Climate Ribbon,” which is an outdoor connector in the development’s retail space. The ribbon captures winds off Biscayne Bay and funnels them through the space, as well as provides shade and collects rainwater for irrigation and air conditioning.
“We are pioneer for the time,” said Christopher Gandolfo, vice president of development for Swire Properties, which developed Brickell City. “I’d like to believe other good developers will follow suit. It is up to the public to demand it to some degree as well.”
LEED is a market transformation tool, Long said. Since LEED launched in 2000, it has quickly become the most widely used green building rating system in the world, transforming the way buildings are constructed, designed and operated. In the United States alone, there are 64,500 projects currently participating in LEED, with that number expected to grow.”
Developers still seek and hold LEED certification as a high standard. It “helps keep the very large team of designers, specialist consultants, and contractors who work on a project like 520 W 28th St. focused on the project’s performance and indoor air quality goals, and it gives our buyers an extra level of comfort that we achieved these goals,” said Luke Falk of Related Cos.
And many developers and architects are not seeing LEED, the gold standard of environmentally conscious and energy efficient design, as a plateau to reach, but as a jumping off point for a new way of thinking.
“LEED isn’t a checklist,” said Brandon Specketer, a partner at COOKFOX, the architects designing a new environmentally friendly building at 550 Vanderbilt in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. “It is a standard of quality that helps everyone meet a certain standard.”
Topics: Architectural Firms, Associations / Organizations, Automation and Controls, Building Owners and Managers, Certifications, Construction Firms, Consulting - Green & Sustainable Strategies and Solutions, Sustainable Communities, Urban Planning and Design, USGBC