Chicago Tops List of Greenest Office Markets
By Hilary Firestone and Olivia Walker
City Energy Project cities once again dominated CBRE's list of greenest U.S. commercial real estate markets. CBRE, the world's largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, released their fourth annual Green Building Adoption Index study in partnership with Maastricht University, examining nationwide commercial building energy use trends and impacts of energy efficiency programs and policies on U.S. building markets.
It then produced a ranked list of the top 30 American commercial real estate markets based on the percentage of the city's office-space square footage that is "certified green," meaning it holds either an EPA ENERGY STAR label or USGBC LEED certification. The study's accompanying map tool returned this year as well, highlighting the names, certification details, and locations of the highest-performing properties in the largest U.S. commercial real estate markets.
City Energy Project (CEP), a nation-wide effort co-led by NRDC and the Institute for Market Transformation, is devoted to improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings in American cities. CEP supports a suite of policies and programs that lay the groundwork for the kind transformative change measured by CBRE's annual study. The most heavily identified strategy of CEP cities is the passage and implementation of a citywide benchmarking and transparency ordinance.
Benchmarking and transparency, the process of measuring building energy data over time and comparing it to similar buildings, gives owners and operators of large buildings information about their building's energy usage and therefore provides the opportunity to improve on that usage. The impact of that work is being clearly demonstrated by studies like this. Nine out of the top 10 cities on CBRE's list have passed benchmarking ordinances all requiring the use of the EPA's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and cities with benchmarking ordinances have 21 percent more ENERGY STAR and LEED certified square footage than those without.
More than half of the CEP cities are on the list, with Chicago claiming first place as the greenest American office market. Chicago's win is thanks to its rapidly improving building stock; 69 percent of the city's office space square footage is now green-certified, an increase of 3 percent in green-certified space since last year's study was published. This distinction comes in the midst of big sustainability action for the Windy City; just last year Mayor Rahm Emanuel pledged to transition city-operated buildings to a 100 percent renewable energy supply by 2025 and they are doubling down on their benchmarking policy with the Chicago Energy Rating System, requiring buildings to publicly display a localized energy rating. Chicago's rapid improvements thus far foretell success in adopting forward thinking policies for existing buildings.
CBRE 2018 Green Building Adoption IndexCBRE, Inc.
11 other CEP cities were included in the report, with Atlanta, Los Angeles, Saint Paul, Houston and Denver all falling in the top 10. While these cities ranked in the top 10 of last year's report as well, all have maintained or improved on their performance since then, with ambitious voluntary challenge programs and benchmarking policies as their tools for success. Notably, Los Angeles' percentage of green square footage increased by over seven percent, causing its ranking to bump up two spots, while Atlanta also gained four percent in green square-footage from the previous year's report. Both Los Angeles and Atlanta have benchmarking and energy audit requirements, so it will be interesting to see the impact of those policies on the uptake of green certifications in the coming years.
As we propel toward the launch of the American Cities Climate Challenge, a new project co-led by NRDC and Delivery Associates and funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies designed to help American cities reach their climate goals, reports like this will be excellent indicators of policy-driven market transformation.
#Denver Becomes Latest City to Require Green Roofs https://t.co/9XqeWtSQlX @billmckibben @SierraClub @greenpeaceusa… https://t.co/sSLH1HRcmP— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1510341409.0
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By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.
<div id="fea63" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9a6f211c2bc5aedd34837944cb8eeedf"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1281000111481294849" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Water in Illinois is overwhelmingly public. Why is Tammy Duckworth sponsoring a bill that aims to change that? https://t.co/1V36Kkd99s</div> — The American Prospect (@The American Prospect)<a href="https://twitter.com/TheProspect/statuses/1281000111481294849">1594249201.0</a></blockquote></div>
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