Sustainable Initiatives Help the Environment …and Bottom Line

Sustainability practices in buildings or buildings being developed are no longer chic alternatives; they are quickly becoming part of the fundamentals of real estate. MB Real Estate, a Chicago-based full-service commercial real estate company, is helping to lead the way in sustainability that benefits not only the environment, but also the pocketbooks of building owners and tenants.

Chicago, IL, April 08, 2010 --( According to the US Green Building Council (USGBC), buildings in the United States are responsible for:

- 72% of electricity consumption
- 39% of energy use
- 38% of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions
- 40% of raw materials use
- 30% of waste output (136 million tons annually)
- 14% of potable water consumption

The sustainability practices in the buildings MB Real Estate manages and projects it develops are no longer chic alternatives; they are quickly becoming part of the fundamentals of real estate.

The Chicago-based full-service commercial real estate company is helping to lead the way in sustainability that benefits not only the environment, but also building owners and tenants. MB Real Estate has initiated renovations and modifications on several of its properties to minimize consumption and maximize efficiency, as well as reduce operating costs.

At the 1.5 million square foot Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago, MB Real Estate implemented several efficiency modifications, including a no-cost climate-control initiative that saved more than $500,000 in electricity costs in 2009. Built in 1965 and home to one of the nation’s largest courthouse systems, the Daley Center utilizes a system of radiators and fans to heat the 31-story facility. MB Real Estate adjusted the use of this perimeter induction system by increasing the temperature of the water in the radiators while reducing the electricity needed to operate the fans that circulate the air.

Since 1994, modifications to the building’s lighting system and adjustments to operating procedures, such as the perimeter induction system, have resulted in a 54% reduction of electricity usage. Also, modifications to the building’s plumbing system in each of the building’s 445 restrooms have resulted in a 70% reduction of water usage.

These measures improve not only building efficiency, but also the overall working environment. “During these times, retaining tenants is just as important as attracting new ones,” says Kevin Purcell, executive vice president and managing director of asset management for MB Real Estate.

Recently, the Daley Center attained the ENERGY STAR award, which signifies the most efficient buildings in the nation. The Daley Center is the fifth building* in MB Real Estate’s management portfolio, which includes Millennium Park, to achieve this award.

In addition to the company’s ENERGY STAR-certified buildings, MB Real Estate manages multiple Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified properties, including Millennium Park and The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Developed by the USGBC, LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system that provides a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. MB Real Estate currently employs more than 20 LEED-certified professionals.

Currently, MB Real Estate is overseeing the development of two office properties in suburban Glenview, Illinois aiming for LEED GOLD certification. The 425,000 square foot, two-building headquarters for a Japanese pharmaceutical company will break ground later this year and the 110,000 square foot headquarters for General Board of Pension and Health Benefits for The United Methodist Church (GBOPHB) will be completed by late summer.

MB Real Estate plans to incorporate a storm water management system, bioswales to naturally filter groundwater, and native species of grass and other botanical elements throughout GBOPHB’s 25-acre site.

David Graff, senior vice president of project services for MB Real Estate who is overseeing the development of both Glenview projects believes that today’s clients are seeking long-term elements that benefit a multitude of factors. “We try to focus on sustainable aspects that provide payback and reduced operating expenses,” says Graff. “We also strive to provide elements that reduce their carbon footprint, and can be seen and touched by the occupants.”

MB Real Estate
Dan Peter