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Measuring Sustainable Development: An Initial Investigation. John Goering, Ph.D. CUNY: Baruch College and the Graduate Center and Alice Cook Director of Sustainability Time Equities Inc Presented at the APPAM - KDI Conference “Environmental Policy & Teaching” Seoul, South Korea

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measuring sustainable development an initial investigation

Measuring Sustainable Development: An Initial Investigation

John Goering, Ph.D.

CUNY: Baruch College and the Graduate Center


Alice Cook

Director of Sustainability

Time Equities Inc

Presented at the APPAM - KDI Conference “Environmental Policy & Teaching”

Seoul, South Korea

June 13, 2009

outline of presentation
Outline of Presentation
  • Brief case studies of new and existing buildings: differing goals for `Green’ development
  • Assess current research evidence on costs & outcomes
  • Outline constraints on further green building
alternative us green rating formats
Alternative US `Green’ Rating Formats
  • Energy Star: US Department of the Environment (1992)
  • LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Certification: US Green Building Council (1998 -)
  • NAHB: Green Home Bldg. Guidelines (single family; 2005)
  • Ad Hoc: case specific- no rating
case study 1 the durst organization s bank of america building
Case Study 1: The Durst Organization’s Bank of America Building
  • Durst Organization began:1915
  • 4 green buildings; “The most environmentally responsible building ever.”
  • 2.1 million square feet co-built with BofA
  • Class A office LEED Platinum; almost fully built & occupied: $175 sq ft rents
  • Goal: Reduce water & energy consumption: 50%
case 2 time equities existing buildings
Case 2: Time Equities: Existing Buildings
  • Focus on global warming and long-term plan for converting stock
  • Created Director of Sustainability office: 2007
  • Initial energy audits – building mod plans
  • Capital commitment + incentives
  • Register LEED Portfolio
  • Require 2-year payback

Energy Retrofit Results


4200 Boulevard Saint-Laurent

Montreal, QC Canada

case 3 building affordably sustainably
Case 3: Building Affordably & Sustainably
  • Affordable housing developers &

multiple layers of uncertain financing

  • Focus on green building before LEED
  • Use of low-cost brownfield sites
  • Focus on energy savings for tenants/owners
  • South Bronx cases: Non-profit: WHEDCo; For-profit: Jonathan Rose


  • “Foyer” Building
  • 46 units
  • Studios for young adults aging out
  • of foster care.
  • On-site vocational, educational, and
  • training programs
  • On-site case management and 24/7
  • security
  • Urban Horizons II
  • 128 units
  • One-, two- and three-bedrooms
  • Affordable to families making 60% of area median income
  • 30% of units for formerly homeless families
  • Commercial storefronts along first floor
  • 37 underground parking spaces

Source: Edelman Sultan Knox & Wood Architects

whedco s saving urban horizons goal well maintained and affordable
WHEDCo’s “Saving Urban Horizons”Goal: Well maintained and affordable

Energy Upgrades (opened 1997)

•Low-flow shower heads & faucet

•Motion-sensitive lighting

•LED exit signs

•Weather-stripped entrances

Planned (unfunded):

Energy Star refrigerators •CFL bulbs

•Photovoltaic roof panels •Green roof

evaluation measurement issues
Evaluation Measurement Issues
  • No independent evaluations of full set of costs and benefits
    • Limited cost & return data; small sample sizes
    • Difficult to obtain data on effective rents & concessions
  • Hard to get long-term data on productivity & health impacts of ratings
  • 2008-2009 research results disagree on core findings
related research evidence
Related Research Evidence
  • Marginal cost to develop - except Platinum
  • 20-35% reductions in energy costs; long-term uncertain
  • Higher occupancy possible (McCormick 2008)
  • Productivity improvements of 18%; reductions of absenteeism up to 71% but unlinked to rating systems (Loftness)
constraints on the evolution of green building
Constraints on the Evolution of Green Building
  • Limited research evidence & data
  • Unclear how to go to scale (building codes/House Energy Bill 2009)
  • Uncertain popular support for sustainability
  • How fast will prices drop & evolving green technology?
  • Flawed ratings systems
  • Weak links to smart growth planning
  • Weak link of social equity
leed flawed tool or necessary harbinger
LEED: Flawed tool or necessary harbinger?
  • Is LEED capturing essential elements of sustainability – can it do better?
  • Will standards to change to enable inclusiveness?
  • Will it become less time consuming and costly?
    • “More Daunting than a Private School Application”
  • Will there be funding & TA to assist developers?
  • How & when will it grow to full scale?
small universe of green
Small Universe of Green

“An infinitesimal percentage of US Buildings

are Green”

CoStar 2008

what green building is not yet
What Green Building is not, yet
  • Not in all building codes
  • Not yet large scale urban development planning
    • But Shanghai’s Dongtan Island; SWECo; LEED ND; Clinton Climate Change demos
  • Large scale tax policy and agency funded
  • Inclusive: with planned provisions for affordability
  • Not yet measured internationally
    • but recent MOU LEED; BREEAM; Green Star
  • Not yet sociologically and economically feasible
but it s begun well
But, it’s begun well
  • Despite disconnect between research and developers, the latter will proceed to adapt their buildings as markets permit
  • There may be important legislative changes
  • Researchers have begun to measure important outcomes
  • There is evidence that it saves money & energy
  • Affordable housing developers will continue to fight for a piece of this action


Comments & Questions?