Monday, October 17, 2011

To Be Green in Seattle

Seattle's Bullitt Center will be quite a green building.   What interests me in this case is a self-selection question; what tenants will choose to locate in this building?   How does locating in this building raise their productivity and improve their social networks?

To quote the article;
"The Bullitt Center has early lease commitments for four of its six floors. The building’s general contractor, the Schuchart Corporation, will be a principal tenant, joining Mr. McLennan’s Cascadia Green Building Council in staking their reputations on the structure’s success. The foundation says rents will be comparable to those for other newly constructed, LEED-certified buildings in the area, and it eventually expects a positive return on investment.
Mr. Hayes said the project team was talking with behavioral economists on incentives to encourage tenants to practice environmentally responsible habits. Immediate feedback on energy use may be one. Competition among floors may be another, as well as making each tenant’s consumption public."
My work with Dora Costa supports this claim that because a green building will self select environmentalist tenants that they will be willing and eager to be benchmarked on peer comparisons in engaging in voluntary restraint.  But, if this building is as "green" as its promoters claim; how much lower can energy consumption go?
Electric utilities must get involved in the unsexy work of nudging 1960s built homes and multi-family housing to become more energy efficient.  Dora Costa and I have documented that when buildings were build during a time of low energy prices that their current energy consumption is high.