Monthly Archives: March 2017

Earth Hour: Dimming commercial building lights for a brighter future

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03_eh-60-logo_stacked-clr_jpegEarth Hour is the largest grassroots movement focused on building awareness of climate change. The movement, which encourages people to limit their use of electricity for one hour, has empowered people around the globe to mobilize – in person and online – in support of fighting climate change. From its humble origins in 2007 as a one-city event in Sydney, the movement organized by the World Wildlife Fund has grown steadily each year, and spread to 178 countries across seven continents by 2016.

This year marks the eleventh annual Earth Hour celebration. On March 25 at 8:30 p.m. your local time, millions of people will turn off their lights for one hour to promote a more sustainable future for our planet. In more dramatic fashion, countries and organizations will show their support by turning off the lights on hundreds of historic landmarks and monuments. Last year the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, the Parthenon in Athens, and the Empire State Building all went dark for Earth Hour.

Earth Hour is an important reminder of the impact real estate has on the environment. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, commercial and residential buildings in the U.S. consume 39 percent of the country’s total energy consumption and account for 38 percent of carbon dioxide emissions – one of the primary greenhouse gases that cause global warming. In addition to increasing carbon emissions, the growth of our cities is causing harmful light pollution. A number of companies and cities that have participated in Earth Hour used the event as a launching pad for other energy management and sustainable efforts.… Read More

Powering smarter buildings with Grid 2.0

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The U.S. power grid summons to mind colossal-sized images: sky-high transmission towers, enormous generating stations and soaring high-voltage transmission lines. It’s a vast, mature and highly complicated infrastructure that continues to keep our homes and businesses illuminated, temperature controlled and vibrantly humming with energy.

Green_PowerGridThe current grid is made up of 2.7 million miles of power lines with power from 5,800 power plants regulated by 3,200 utilities. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, fossil fuel power plants using coal, oil or natural gas generate 70 percent of the power for the U.S. with nuclear power plants generating 20 percent. There is a need to not only address the current grid model, but to improve the grid, how we access it and, more importantly, how we pay for energy.

As markets rapidly evolve in an increasingly connected world, power grid technology is physically becoming smaller and our energy density is becoming greater. Thanks to wireless communications and innovative software applications, we are able to integrate electricity generation, transmission and load with data analytics to better understand what is happening on both sides of an electrical meter. It’s called Grid 2.0, and it’s no longer the grid of the future thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT). It is quickly becoming the grid of the here and now, analyzing and integrating data, and adjusting, distributing and personalizing energy based on real-time supply and demand.… Read More

The best intentions do not a plan make: turn corporate sustainability goals into action

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Companies across all industry sectors are committing to develop corporate sustainability plans. It’s no secret that a corporate sustainability plan can improve operational efficiency, reduce environmental impact, increase employee satisfaction, attract top talent and strengthen brand loyalty. It also can provide your company a competitive advantage by increasing its overall value, therefore attracting wealthy investors.

Once your company has committed to establishing a corporate sustainability plan and received engagement from the organization, the next critical step is to implement strategies that will help your company meet its sustainability goals. With the multitude of sustainable strategies and reporting standards available, it can be difficult to narrow the options, focus on the right metrics, and implement the best tactics.

But it may be easier than you think. What our Energy and Sustainability Services (ESS) team has found in helping clients turn their sustainability vision into a reality is that by initiating the following strategies, you’ll be well on your way to meeting your sustainability goals.… Read More

Breathe a little deeper for productivity

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OpenOfficePlanMany businesses today are making large investments in workplace renovations and sustainable upgrades in order to increase employee satisfaction, wellness and productivity. Yet, a Harvard study has discovered one factor to productivity that has been overlooked: air quality.

In October 2015, the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment published a study that found that the quality of the air we breathe has… Read More

What exactly is the green economy?

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The green economy can seem like a hidden economic sector in the UK. I hear people talk about environmental sustainability without understanding that it is an engine for economic growth, business innovation and job creation, not least in the real estate and construction sectors. Did you know, for example, that the low carbon and renewable energy economy in the UK generates £46 billion in revenue and supports 240,000 green collar jobs?… Read More