Real estate businesses must take more social responsibility for the environment.
Some critics consistently repeat that the two “E”s – one for “economy” and another one for “environment” – do not work very well together. Others say that sustainable business is a form of philanthropy when the company defines its “environmental activity” as an expense item in accounting reports, and the only reason for doing so is to make peace with the ecologists or local authorities such as city councils or state governments and their numerous bureaucratic requirements.
This thinking is very outdated.
Recently I learned that StarPoint Properties, LLC., a Beverly Hills based real estate investment firm founded in 1989 by Paul Daneshrad and now dominating the real estate market of California, has successfully accomplished a number of environmentally sustainable projects in full accordance with the LEED rating system. But first, let’s get acquainted with the terms.
What is “LEED”?
The abbreviation “LEED” stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a private non-profit initiative. LEED’s development grew from the formation of USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council) in 1993 by three individuals: David Gottfried, Mike Italiano and Rick Fedrizzi, who served as president, CEO and founding chair of the organization respectively. In 2009 USGBC launched LEED v2009 that introduced weightings for credits based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s TRACI (Tool for the Reduction and Assessment of Chemical and Other Environmental Impacts) and weightings developed by the National Institute of Standards. This advancement made LEED much more rigorous and indicated which credits were most important. The program’s concept is constantly changing and improving, with new standards and requirements added every few years.
How does LEED ratings work?
First of all, LEED Rating System is divided into several categories including Building Design and Construction, Interior Design and Construction, Building Operations and Maintenance, and others. Its rating system is based on a 100-point scale. Projects pursuing LEED certification earn points for various green building strategies across several categories. Based on the number of points achieved, projects earn one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum.
Now, back to StarPoint Properties and its most Most Expensive Office In Beverly Hills – also referred to as the “Wells Fargo Building” thanks to the banking tenant’s rooftop signage – located at 433 N Camden Dr Beverly Hills, CA. Purchased in 2018 for $193 million, the property expands over 207,432 SF area. According to one of the sources, the building hadn’t been renovated in 15 years before the purchase and fell 25% below the market’s average rent of $48.24/SF.
After the purchase, Paul Daneshrad made a responsible decision to develop the property in accordance with the highest sustainability standards. The renovation included retrofitting all lighting fixtures with LED bulbs, adjusting equipment runtime, installation of building automation, as well as general maintenance updates. The property also received high marks for implementing a robust recycling program and for its reduction of single-use plastics, such as bottles and utensils, across the entire building. This renovation took about a year.
As a result, StarPoint Properties was granted LEED Gold v4.1 certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for the sustainability-related improvements.
Businesses can make informed choices and be environmentally friendly at the same time. As shown by a few examples of StarPoint’s environmentally friendly projects, cutting-edge technologies and economy go hand in hand. StarPoint Properties is a vivid manifestation of how to do business the right way.
Now that we know that the two “E”s no longer contradict each other – it is time to recognize the future of our children and the world fully depends on us.