SPreading the word

As more and more properties Catch the Wave with SERF Certification, we’re beginning to fall behind in processing applications.   Maintaining our early decision to cede the lengthy process award to the other 4-letter certification, we are, instead, embarking on a fix.

Our new professional designation SERF Professional (SP) will enable real estate professionals to act as third party verifiers for SERF Certification applications.  SPs will be independent from SERF and will set their own fees and contract directly with certification applicants.

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Can Governments Really Afford LEED?

There seems a refreshing change in the air questioning municipal, state and federal agency mandates to LEED certify new structures under their purview.

No one finding their way here will question the environmental and social good–even a social demand–for building green by our public sector.  But in the midst of budget crises resulting in spending cuts at every level of government, the high cost of obtaining LEED certification (some 10 times higher than SERF, often more) is beginning to raise fiscal eyebrows.

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Paying (and paying) for the LEED Label

As mentioned in past blogs, the burdensome cost of LEED certification–measured in both time and money–lies in  consultant fees and documentation.  A very reliable study commissioned by the US General Services Administration (GSA) proves the point.

The GSA is an independent federal agency responsible for the construction, operation, and maintenance of federal facilities, including courthouses, office buildings, land ports of entry, and research facilities.

GSA commissioned this report to identify the incremental cost of LEED certification for two buildings: A new mid-rise federal Courthouse and a mid-rise federal office building modernization. The report analyzed both the incremental construction costs as well as soft costs–i.e. LEED-based documentation and consultation fees.

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Getting DIRTTy in Chicago

Last week’s SERF Chicago party celebrating our newest regional office was a raging success.

Some 300 guests gathered at the Green Learning Center of our hosts, DIRTT (that’s Doing It Right This Time for the uninitiated) on the Chicago River next to the Merchandise Mart.

We ate, drank and made merry while celebrating three new Windy City certifications including DIRTT’s space (the first of our new certification for office suites), Norcon Construction’s clever adaptive reuse of an old storage facility on the west side, and 330 N. Wabash—formerly the IBM Building and soon to be the AMA (American Medical Association) Plaza.

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Practical Environmental Stewardship

While rummaging through a pile of green building literature, looking for material to write my first  blog around SERF’ s mission of Practical Environmental Stewardship ™,  I learned of 330 North Wabash’s recent SERF certification. 330 N. Wabash is the last American design of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and is one of Chicago’s finest architectural gems.   The owner/manager’s commitment to this goal makes this vital structure an exemplary  model of  SERF’s mission.

The level of intrusive retrofit that can be performed to green a historic and iconic structure is severely limited. Renovation of any nature must be performed without altering any of its historic features. The management could be forgiven if they didn’t attempt a green renovation given the complexity involved, but they did! Innovation on their part revealed the existence of several affordable, high impact and low intrusive greening strategies.

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