By Loretta Cockrum
Chairman & CEO
In the past 24 months law firms have signed 131 leases totaling 2,219,470 square feet, in green certified buildings, financial institutions signed 108 leases totaling 2,029,324 square feet green certified buildings
Foram Group is stepping it up a notch by creating the first LEED pre-certified Gold office building in Florida, spanning a full block between Sixth and Seventh Streets on the west side of Miami’s Brickell Avenue, considered the “Wall Street” of the South. Brickell Financial Centre is a 1.5 million-square-foot two-phase project consisting of office, retail, hotel and a 30,000-square-foot plaza. Phase I is under construction and is a 40-story, 600,000-square-foot Class A office tower scheduled to open January 2010. The 30,000-square-foot public plaza (also part of Phase I) will become the business district’s social epicenter - think of an eco-friendly Rockefeller Center meets Brickell – with restaurants, cultural programming and art installations.
The Office of the Federal Environmental Executive defines green building as “The practice of 1) increasing efficiency with which building and their sites use energy, water, and materials, and 2) reducing building impacts on human health and the environment through better design, construction, operation, maintenance, and waste removal through the complete building life cycle.” Green building, otherwise known as sustainable development, is intended to be environmentally responsible, energy efficient, economically profitable, and healthy places to work. Green building techniques have the power to improve the quality of life of entire communities.
The rewards of green building may, at first glance, seem difficult for a building’s users to measure. But this approach delivers immediate, tangible benefits to the people who will spend time within Brickell Financial Center’s interior spaces. This refers to the healthier indoor air quality that can be achieved through careful planning and rigorous adherence to LEED® standards. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Its U. S. Green Building Council Rating System™ is the nationally-accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings
The benefits of green buildings are significant. Green building tenants have been experiencing abundant human capital gains related to recruiting and retention, absenteeism, self-reported productivity gains and overall morale. When a tenant moves into a green building that supports its workforce through design features, such as higher indoor air quality, daylight harvesting, and efficient layout it is only expected that the firm will have a greater chance of a more productive and loyal workforce. This opportunity allows for employees to produce a higher quality product which will likely lead to increased degree of satisfaction among the customer base, resulting in higher profitability, market share, etc. – inevitably creating a higher firm value.
- Lowering Operating Costs: Tenants save money on reduced heating, cooling, and water utility costs.
- Greater Productivity: Improved natural lighting, temperature control, and air circulation is a documented way to significantly increase worker productivity.
- Less Absenteeism: improved air quality and environmental comfort leads to improved employee health, which results in less sick days taken.
- Greater Viability for the Future: Incorporating a sustainable design ensures long-term efficiencies.
As companies at the pinnacle of their industry continue to seek out competitive advantages in every area, there is an increasing demand for high performance green buildings.
By Loretta Cockrum
Chairman & CEO
South Florida Legal Guide 2009 Edition