Developers find green building is ‘good business’ | Dallas Business News

Link: Developers find green building is ‘good business’ | Dallas Business News

           Even with the economy and real estate business in the tank, building        owners are looking for ways to make their properties more eco-friendly.     
    But the driver in the decision to build and operate more energy and        environmentally efficient properties has as much ? if not more - to do        with saving dough as hugging trees, real estate industry leaders meeting        in Dallas Tuesday said.     </p>     <p>       ?The fact of the matter is this is just good business - making buildings        perform better,? said Dan Probst, an energy and sustainable development        expert with real estate broker Jones Lang LaSalle. ?We are not building        a lot of buildings today.     </p>     <p>       ?It?s all about making existing buildings perform better.?      </p>     <p>       Probst was one of a series of speakers at a seminar sponsored by the        Urban Land Institute, the North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors        and the Real Estate Council.     </p>     <p>       Industry leaders say they have observed a shift in attitudes toward        eco-sensitive real estate.     </p>     <p>       ?Today people simply expect it,? said Michael Buckley, a real estate        professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. ?Cost savings is        going to drive things.?     </p>     <p>       Buildings with environmental and energy design features have almost 4        percent higher average occupancy, and save significantly on utilities,        the latest data shows.     </p>     <p>       Corporate America is more interested in the concept.     </p>     <p>       ?Their shareholders, customers and employees care about it,? Probst said.      </p>     <p>       Developers of Dallas? new convention hotel are already on board with        sustainable development. They are seeking environmental savings        certification for the property.     </p>     <p>       ?We basically have to look at every single decision made about in that        building,? said developer Jack Matthews. ?We spent 10 hours in the last        month looking at the laundry alone.     </p>     <p>       ?I want to do it because it?s the right thing to do,? he said. ?And it?s        about saving money.?     </p>     <p>       One of the country?s big office tenants ? accounting giant Ernst &amp; Young        - is also shifting its emphasis toward green properties.     </p>     <p>       More than half of the 6.1 million square feet Ernst Young occupies in        the U.S. has energy savings ratings, said Judy Barth Bowles, a director        of real estate services with Ernst &amp; Young.     </p>     <p>       ?We?ve looked at everything to maximize the dollars we spend,? Bowles        said. ?We are very cognizant of the energy consumption.     </p>     <p>       ?Landlords are very interested, and we give them the push.?