SDC Talks Archive

SDC Talks is an initiative created by the Sustainable Development Committee (SDC) as a repository for thought leadership facilitated and/or generated by the members of SDC.  The goal of SDC Talks is to provide relevant and applicable pieces on sustainability topics within the context of commercial real estate.  If NAIOP members have a topic they would like to learn about through SDC Talks, please send all requests to Jim Landau or Andrea Hidalgo for review.




2nd Voices on Resilience Speaker Event Pushes the DC Region to ask “What can we be resilient to?”

author: Jessica Long,Sustainability Manager at JBG, Co-Chair of the 2015 Greenbuild Host Committee

On Thursday October 22, members of the DC green building community gathered for an engaging program focused on building for resilience in our communities.  The session featured a presentation from new SDC member Greg Mella of SmithGroupJJR and was summarized in this article on the USGBC-NCR blog by SDC member Jessica Long of The JBG Companies. Click here to read the full article.



BIM after Construction

author: John Mangan AIA, President Mangan Group Architects


This project involved the building of a new law center including classrooms and a conference space in a building that was originally built as an office building. The original building had no street presence on Massachusetts Avenue. The architect’s vision of opening not only the façade, but the floors to create a dramatic entry and gathering space was much easier to understand with the use of the BIM.  Click here to read the full article.



Better Buildings Challenge for Real Estate Investor Owners Average Annual Percent Improvement (AAPI)

author: Jessica Long, Sustainability Manager at JBG

In May 2014 SDC member Jessica Long, Sustainability Manager at JBG, attended the Department of Energy’s annual Better Buildings Summit in Washington DC.  During the opening session of the summit Better Buildings Challenge members were recognized as industry leaders for their commitment to reduce energy use, share innovative solutions and showcase project success profiles.  Here about her account of the proceedings here.


Energy Benchmarking and Transparency: Thoughts from a one day workshop and preview of things to come

author: David Borchardt, Principal DPRM LLC


On December 4th I attended a workshop on Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure Programs, sponsored by the Resources for the Future (RFF) (  They will be releasing a summary of the workshop next year and I wanted to give a preview of some of the topics discussed, the issues raised and provide some additional information for those who want to know more. The stated purpose of the workshop is outlined in the link below, what I heard and took away from a building owner’s perspective is summarized after. Click here for the full outline.



IMT & DOE’s Green Lease Leaders Program – Program and Designation Overview

author: Chris Potter, Institute for Market Transformation

Montgomery County USGBC-NCRHeadline for Website: The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Alliance (DOE BBA) recently kicked off the 2015 Green Lease Leaders Recognition Program.  The program, developed with support from leading real estate practitioners, distinguishes property owners, tenants, and brokers who are effectively using the lease as a tool to save energy in commercial buildings.  Those selected meet the requirements of the Green Lease Leader program by incorporating lease clauses that improve sustainability on many fronts such as; allowing for sharing of the costs of energy-saving improvements, ensuring tenants build out to green standards, increasing transparency by sharing access to energy consumption data and Energy Star scores between tenants and landlords, and encouraging cooperation on environmental initiatives. Click here to read the full press release



Montgomery County New Energy Benchmarking Legislation

Montgomery County USGBC-NCR hosted an introduction to the new energy benchmarking legislation which requires owners of certain non-residential buildings in Montgomery County to benchmark and report energy usage.  Building owners with properties 50,000 square feet or larger were encouraged to attend, in addition to nonprofits and associations that support the energy and/or building community.

Click here for a sneak peek of the presentation.

Click here for a map of U.S. states, counties and cities that have building benchmarking and disclosure policies as of August 1, 2014.



EcoDistricts Summit Recap: A Global Summit Dedicated to Regenerating Cities, From the Neighborhood Up

September 24-26, 2014, five-hundred and fifty people gathered from over 100 cities across the globe at Washington D.C.’s Marriott Marquis to test out ideas and create new knowledge of how to make our cities more livable. Washington, D.C. was chosen as the host city because of its ability to teach attendees by example, offering off-site tours of the District’s active projects. Click here for the full recap.

The Growth of GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark).

GRESB is an industry-driven organization committed to assessing the sustainability performance of real estate portfolios (public, private and direct) around the globe. The dynamic benchmark is used by institutional investors to engage with their investments with the aim to improve the sustainability performance of their investment portfolio, and the global property sector at large.  GRESB is quickly becoming an essential tool of investors in commercial real estate that want to invest in portfolio’s that have a commitment to sustainability, have a plan to improve their operations and have implemented and reported their results. 

SDC Talks had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Nils Kok, one of the founders and the Executive Director of GRESB.   In three separate interviews, Dr. Kok discusses: What is GRESB?; The 2014 GRESB survey results, and Trends for North America in the coming years.
Interviewer – Maryellen Dolan, Director, Portfolio Management, National Real Estate Advisors

Part 1 --

Part 2 --

Part 3 --

In addition to the video interviews, we encourage you to visit the GRESB website for more information. (



Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan

authors: Stacy Plotkin Silber - Partner, Lerch, Early & Brewer | Greg Rooney - VP of Development, The Bernstein Companies

Sustainability in real estate development comes in many forms. In the ongoing process of updating the Bethesda Sector Plan, Montgomery County Park and Planning staff is presenting a unique opportunity to engage in sustainability by organizing it into three central themes: social sustainability, economic sustainability and environmental sustainability. Click here for the full plan.


Waste Diversion: Economic Benefits + How YOU Can Implement Change
author: Demetrius Robinson, Green Earth Services


We all used to just ‘throw it away’ and that was it. No one was concerned with where that material went or how it was handled as long as we did not have to see it, or especially smell it again. This was true in our homes as well as our workplaces. Click here for the article pdf.


Speaking at DCS GreenWeek: "2014 Green Building Regulations and Incentives in the District"

author: Bill Updike, Department of the Environment

The 2013 Energy Conservation Code will require that new buildings perform as much as 30 percent more efficiently, and the District’s inaugural Green Construction Code will extend the building practices legislated by the D.C. Green Building Act of 2006 to most construction projects. The new codes will result in energy and water savings as well as a greener and healthier city environment. Adoption of the new codes represents a significant step toward meeting the goals of Mayor Gray’s Sustainable DC initiative. Click here to view the presentation.


Microgrids and Resiliency

author: Jim Landau, MetLife Real Estate Investors


In June 2012 the Derecho resulted in up to 4.2 million customers losing power for as long as 7 to 10 days. Hurricane Sandy followed that in October 2012, which resulted in many more power outages. Extreme weather events during summer and winter have all resulted in outages that cause businesses to close and have a large impact on commercial real estate. The discussion of resiliency has become common as landlords attempt to find ways to keep their buildings open and tenants operating during outages.  Click here for the article pdf.


Case Study and Lessons Learned: Real Time Energy Management
Philip Henderson & Meg Waltner

This case study examines the energy management initiative implemented by Tower Companies, Inc. in three large, multi-tenant office buildings it owns and operates in downtown Washington, D.C.  Tower's initiative was designed to deliver to its buildings operations team better information about the energy use in each building and actionable recommendations to catch and correct operational stray and to reduce energy use. Click here for the NRDC Case Study on Real-Time Energy Management.


An Overview of LEED v4:  The Next Version of LEED
author: Sara Cederberg, U.S. Green Building Council

The LEED program is the preeminent global green building program and is currently in using more than 120 countries.  Every day 1.6 million SF of building space is certified to LEED - with existing buildings outpacing new constructions by 15 millions sf on a cumulative basis.
  Click here for the article pdf.

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