What is a 'Green' Building?
"A green building is a high performance property that considers and reduces its impact on the environment and human health. A green building is designed to use less energy and water and reduce the life-cycle environmental impacts of the materials used. This is achieved through better siting, design, material selection, construction, operation, maintenance, removal, and possible reuse."
Jerry Udelson, The Green Building Revolution
Why Build and Renovate 'Green'?
At Purple Vetch Properties, 'green' buildings, and specifically green retrofitting, is at the core of our business. We've chosen this route for three simple reasons:
- It's aligned with our personal beliefs and value systems.
- It's more lucrative and profitable for our investors.
- It creates the most positive impact in the communities in which we operate.
The primary focus of Purple Vetch Properties is on historic multi-family commercial real estate properties, and putting our efforts into the modification of these properties so that the operation and maintenance of these communities can be significantly enhanced. We believe that ultimately, this is the most sustainable thing we can do. PVP is passionate about working with what we already have and making it better. But we do not do 'green' for green sake ~ if preservation of a historic property flies iin the face of a green initiative, we will closely scrutinzie the choices we have, and make a decision that ultimately supports the largest reading of sustainability. Which may mean foregoing a so called 'green initiative' in a given circumstance.
Many of the buildings in which we live, work, and play have become increasingly 'sick' over the years, and continue to have a negative impact on the environment and on the people who spend much of their time within the 'walls' of these buildings. PVP believes that the sheer amount of energy, water, and materials used, the creation of waste products, and the deterioration of air quality and the exacerbation of water pollution, all that often accompany the construction and operation of these buildings need to be both checked and reversed.
Green or sustainable building is the practice of creating healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance, and demolition. Research and experience increasingly demonstrate that when buildings are designed and operated with their lifecycle impacts in mind, they can provide greater environmental, economic, and social benefits to all stakeholders involved in real estate.
We only choose to implement a 'green' or sustainable plan for our multi-family properties if it makes financial sense to do so. Our property residents must also perceive value in the green features of the buildings in which they live. These are crtical tenets of our high performance 'sustainability program'.
In the United States, buildings account for:
39 percent of total energy use
Buildings accounted for 38.9 percent of total U.S. energy consumption in 2005. Residential buildings accounted for 53.7 percent of that total, while commercial buildings accounted for the other 46.3 percent.
72 percent of total electricity consumption
Buildings accounted for 72 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption in 2006 and this number will rise to 75% by 2025. 51 percent of that total was attributed to residential building use, while 49 percent was attributed to commercial building usage.
12 percent of the total water consumption
Between 1950 and 2000, the U.S. population nearly doubled. However, in that same period, public demand for water more than tripled. Americans now use an average of 100 gallons of water each day—enough to fill 1,600 drinking glasses.
Of the 26 billion gallons of water consumed daily in the United States, approximately 7.8 billion gallons, or 30 percent, is devoted to outdoor uses. The majority of this is used for landscaping.
38 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions
On average, Americans spend about 90 percent or more of their time indoors. Yet Indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times higher, and occasionally more than 100 times higher, than outdoor levels.
Buildings and their Impact on the Environment: A Statistical Summary
Revised April 22, 2009
United States Environmental Protection Agency)
Potential benefits of green building can include:
- Enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems
- Improve air and water quality
- Reduce waste streams
- Conserve and restore natural resources
- Reduce operating costs
- Create, expand, and shape markets for green product and services
- Improve occupant productivity
- Optimize life-cycle economic performance
- Enhance occupant comfort and health
- Heighten aesthetic qualities
- Minimize strain on local infrastructure
- Improve overall quality of life
The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) predicts that green building will affect the following:
- Building values would increase 7.5%
- Return on investment would improve by 6.6%
- Occupancy ratios would increases by 3.5%
- Rent ratio would increase by 3%
Additionally, in comparison to the average commercial building:
- Green buildings consume 26% less energy
- Green buildings have 13% lower maintenance costs
- Green buildings have 27% higher occupant satisfaction
- Green buildings have 33% less greenhouse gas emissions
(Source: United States Green Building Council)