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Green building on rise in Cleveland

Marc Lefkowitz  |  05/30/08 @ 4:48pm

Crain's Cleveland Business has a special section this week on green building activity in Cleveland, featuring some high-profile projects pursuing LEED-certification. Some of the highlights include Flats East Bank pursuing green roofs, Forest City's LEED-registered renovation of the Higbee Building, and major developments including the Ameritrust site and Pesht in the Warehouse District verbally committing to LEED.

The green building movement is being driven by tenants: Case in point, Ernst & Young global chairman and chief executive Jim Turley said meeting green requirements was part of the evaluation that led to them signing on to Flats East Bank.

Cleveland's top developers committing to LEED is a good start. What we need now is to set a more aggressive goal ? such as all green buildings will achieve at least LEED-Silver ? in order for Cleveland to compete with Chicago, Pittsburgh, and even Grand Rapids.

We need to set a goal that all developments receiving a public subsidy must achieve LEED-Silver or higher. That would help establish Cleveland as a green leader in the region. Boston and Washington, D.C. both have policies that require public and private buildings larger than 50,000 sq. ft. to get LEED certified. Can we do one better and require them to be LEED-Silver?

Since costs to go from the lesser LEED-certified to LEED-Silver will increase, we could engage the public sector or private foundations to convince developers that leveraging their commitment to LEED would be good for them and the regional economy. Look for example, at Grand Rapids, Michigan which, for a population of 197,800 people has 28 LEED-Certified projects (four at LEED-Silver; five LEED-Gold). What makes Grand Rapids (and Michigan with 65 LEED-certified projects compared to Ohio with 38) one of the leaders in green buildings per-capita?

 

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