Thursday, August 02, 2007

No Big Deal

Ken Ulman's new environmental package recently adopted by the Howard County Council is great but in fact the marketplace was already out ahead of the government this time, at least as far as commercial real estate goes.

Approximately two years ago, the largest office developer in Howard County, Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT), committed to making all of their new office projects LEED certified. Since COPT has such a dominant position in the market, their initiative has spurred all other local developers to get on board. Just last year, Manekin Corporation completed their new headquarters building in Columbia Gateway Corporate Community attaining a LEED Silver designation.

Prior to this legislation being introduced, my own firm was already working on making its newest office development in Emerson a LEED certified building.

Since this has become such a hot topic, I have decided to launch yet another blog dedicated exclusively to the development of this building. In this blog I will share my insider observations about the process of building and leasing a green building in Howard County.


Jessie N said...

Congratulations on your new Tonka-toy project and your new blog. Remember, you can submit your blog to be listed on ezColumbia's local blog tracking page at

I guess you'd be posted under "real estate," along with the Odum Real Estate Group's blog.

wordbones said...

Thanks or the props!
As further proof of my contention that the marketplace was ahead of the government on this initiative there was an article in The Sun today about yet another LEED Silver building in Oakland Mills. Metroventures is developing a 58,000 square foot building on the former gas station site new the village center.

Eldersburg1976 said...

very cool....good to see more "green" buildings going up in the area... we have seen a lot of LEED interest from clients coming into our office.. (AE firm)

Anonymous said...

So, what you're saying is that the current administration wins points with the environmentalists while not upsetting campaign funding sources?

Anonymous said...


You mean the Council not the Administration. The Administration would have preferred no amendments, but the council, including Mary Kay, seemed very concerned about for businesses. I just hope they remember that when they start talking about retroactive zoning laws.

Anonymous said...

I'm anon 7:42pm,

Anon, please explain more. What happened? Did the council try to water-down the bills?

How would this harm business if they already engage in green building?

pzguru said...

Emerson is a nice project. It's turned out very well I think. You shouldn't have any prblems leasing it given its great location (although I know the market is a little unpredictable at this point).

I agree - the private sector was already taking the initiative to go green. There really was no need to have legislation mandating it - and the administration should not get "credit" for soemthing that was already happening.

Anonymous said...

The council didn't try to water the bill down IT DID water the bill down.

Anonymous said...

LEED Silver is great progress beyond previous building designs.

If you know, why was LEED Silver chosen instead of either no LEED certification at all, either of the higher energy efficiency ratings of LEED Gold or LEED Platinum, or even exceeding LEED Platinum with additional forward-thinking design features?

Will this large building have a large green roof, too?

Will pesticides and herbicides be regularly applied to the grounds?

Will oil/gas mixture blowers be used to clear sidewalks of grass clippings and 2-stroke mowers be used for the grass?

Is the parking lot a permeable surface to minimize stormwater runoff?

Will parking lot capacity utilization be monitored to determine which portions can rightly be covered with boxed sod providing green surface instead of unused asphalt?

Will the building be serviced by public transit? Will it have a bike rack?

How green is the building's HVAC? Is it geothermal? CHP? Something else?

How big is the property's footprint and how many trees will be on the grounds?

wordbones said...

Anon 11:18,

You ask good questions. All of those will addressed over time in the E1 blog.