Green Branch, GREEN LINK and Forever Green are all ‘green’ brands launched by companies with commercial property to support portfolio wide sustainability programs. “Green Branch” is a registered trademark of PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh, GREEN LINK is Morguard Investments Limited green program and on March 13, 2008 Bentall Capital announced its new ForeverGreen brand. All three firms have embraced green building programs and are benefiting from their commitment to sustainability.
Gary Saulson, Director of Real Estate for PNC Financial Services Group says “PNC has more LEED certified buildings than any company in the World”. PNC opened its first green building in 2000 with the Firstside Center, a PNC operations facility in Pittsburgh, followed in 2002 by PNC's mutual fund processing headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware which became the first financial services sector building to be certified at the USGBC LEED Gold standard.
PNC was the first US financial institution to build green bank branches leading to its trademarked “Green Branch” construction program announced by PNC in November 2007 . It currently manages forty LEED-certified bank branches in six states, with more on the way. Fifteen of these branches have been certified under the USGBC Portfolio Program. While this represents a small portion of the 1,000 branches owned or leased by PNC, the bank intends to expand its ‘Green Branch’ program when existing locations are renovated and new ones opened.
Commenting on the financial benefit of the Green Branch program, Saulson said that PNC recently opened new Green Branches for $100,000 less than its competitor and did so in a shorter time. He said the program must be cost effective and there are some technologies such as solar water and electricity that are not yet viable. He added Green Branch reduces operating costs, water consumption, staff turnover and it has raised the productivity of PNC employees.
As a testament to the sophistication of the Green Branch program, Saulson said there are 4,608 site considerations for each new location. They include 8 different floor plans, 4 climate regimes, 12 building orientations that take into account wind and sun along with 1,000s of other factors. No employee parking is provided at Green Branch locations so access to public transit and availability of bike racks is required.
A floor of the PNC building where Saulson has his office serves as a continuous ‘beta testing’ site for new products for Green Branch such as furniture, carpets, lighting, fabrics, tiles, faucets and urinals. PNC is currently trying out four different waterless urinals and sink faucets where the battery for the electric eye on the spigot is charged by water running through the faucet. Armstrong one of N.A. largest ceiling tile companies is also testing products providing PNC with a proactive experience of their latest product lines.
In addition to its branch program, Three PNC Plaza in downtown Pittsburgh, scheduled to open in 2009 will be the nation's largest green "mixed-use" development and a new regional headquarters for PNC's Greater Washington region slated to open in 2010 will be seeking LEED certification.
In Canada, Morguard Investments Limited has launched the GREEN LINK program. GREEN LINK is described on its website as “a national program that will be the foundation for Morguard to adopt a continuous "green" operation of its properties and maintain employees and tenant awareness by promoting green building programs, technologies, and design practices.” In conjunction with GREEN LINK, Morguard’s goal is to obtain certification through BOMA Go Green.
According to Steve Taylor, President & COO, Morguard Investment Limited, GREEN LINK was rolled out to 67% of Morguard’s office portfolio in 2007 and will ramp up to 100% adoption by 2009. Morguard currently has two pilot retail projects proceeding through the GREEN LINK Program and plans to apply it to 16 additional retail centres during 2008. Morguard manages approximately 375 commercial properties with over 45 million square feet of area.
GREEN LINK manuals for each building in the program are located on the Morguard website. The manuals summarize the goals, objectives and accomplishments of the property such as the following GREEN LINK Manual for Scotia Place in Edmonton.
Morguard Investments Limited boosted its reputation as a ‘green building’ investor earlier this year when it acquired The TELUS Building at 215 Slater St. in Ottawa on behalf of its German based client, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Immobilienfonds mbH (DEGI). The TELUS Building is a candidate for LEED Silver certification and was purchased in December 2007.
Morguard Investments Limited is a primary investor, on behalf of a Canadian pension fund client, in Discovery Green, a 150,000 sf building for the high tech industry. It is under construction and will occuply the last site available at the 80-acre Discovery Place Research Park at 4,200 Canada Way in Burnaby, B.C. It is being built to LEED Gold Standards.
On March 13th, 2008, Bentall Capital launched its new "ForeverGreen" brand. In the Bentall Capital news release announcing ForeverGreen , Cheryl Gray, Senior Vice President, National Real Estate Services says, “Bentall's new ForeverGreen program will help foster a culture of conservation and environmental awareness. It provides a context for us to partner with clients, tenants and suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase waste diversion practices and reduce the environmental footprint of the properties we manage”
Bentall Capital has been an active participant in the BOMA GoGreen program.
Bentall has more than 600 buildings, representing over 81 million square feet of commercial space, as well as approximately 5,000 multi-family residential units under management. Its senior management, BCIMC and SITQ, an affiliate of CDP Capital, jointly owns Bentall Capital
To stay abreast of Green Real Estate issues register for the Green Real Estate Conference to be held on April, 3, 2008 at the Toronto Convention Centre. Register is open until March 28th.