EPA’s Fifth Annual Energy Star Battle of the Buildings: Over 5,500 buildings to compete


Saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions aren’t just good economic sense, they’re the new norm.  Don’t believe it?  Check out the EPA’s latest program leveraging competition between buildings to cut emissions and shrink energy footprints:

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  launched the 2014 Energy Star Battle of the Buildings: Team Challenge. More than 5,500 buildings nationwide are going head-to-head to reduce their energy use. In support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for businesses to cut in half the amount of energy they waste over the next 20 years, the competition specifically targets wasted energy in commercial buildings, and will motivate businesses to improve energy efficiency, reduce harmful carbon pollution, and save money.

“The competitive spirit is alive and well among the building teams working to improve their energy efficiency in this year’s Battle of the Buildings,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “After four successful years, we’re excited to see the innovative ideas that will emerge from the competitors as they find new ways to save energy and money while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the environment.”

In the only coast-to-coast competition of its kind, dozens of different types of commercial buildings are facing off in this year’s Energy Star Battle of the Buildings. This year’s theme, “Team Challenge,” features teams of five or more buildings who will work together to reduce their collective energy use as much as possible over the course of a year. For example, “Team Staples” includes 17 Staples stores, while 15 Whole Foods stores will support each other as part of “Team Whole Foods Market.” In New Castle County, Del., 13 elementary schools will compete as part of a team, and they’re going up against their county’s five middle schools and six high schools. In Hillsborough County, Fla., fire stations will team up to compete against libraries.

This year marks the fifth year that EPA has hosted the Battle of the Buildings. The competition—and positive environmental impacts—have grown exponentially since that time. Altogether, last year’s competitors saved an estimated $20 million on utility bills. Nearly 50 buildings in the competition demonstrated energy use reductions of 20 percent or greater.

Commercial buildings in the United States spend more than $100 billion in annual utility bills and are responsible for approximately 20 percent of both the nation’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. By improving the energy efficiency of the places they work, play, and learn, the competitors will save energy and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Competitors will measure and track their buildings’ monthly energy consumption using EPA’s online energy measurement and tracking tool, Energy Star Portfolio Manager. Building teams will work to optimize or upgrade equipment, retrofit lighting, and change occupants’ behaviors—all with help from Energy Star. The team that reduces its buildings’ average energy use the most, on a percentage basis over a 12-month performance period, will be declared the winner. In addition to the team competition, 700 individual buildings are also competing in a special water reduction category, and will work with EPA’s WaterSense program to apply best practices for commercial building water management.

EPA will maintain a website devoted to the competition, featuring a list of the competitors and their starting, midpoint, and final standings, a live Twitter feed where competitors will post updates on their progress and an interactive map of the competitor’s locations. Midpoint results will be posted in October, with the winner announced in April 2015.

Products, homes and buildings that earn the Energy Star label prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency requirements set by the U.S. EPA. From the first Energy Star qualified computer in 1992, the label can now be found on products in more than 70 different categories, with more than 4.8 billion sold. Over 1.5 million new homes and 23,000 buildings have earned the Energy Star label.

More information on the competition: http://www.energystar.gov/BattleOfTheBuildings

11. July 2014 by Wayne Grohl
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Rattling Retail: Mobile E-Commerce Posts Eye-Popping Recent Gains

E-Commerce forced upon you

The brick-and-mortar retail universe of ten years ago is gone and won’t be coming back. The intercession of the internet has rewritten the retail equation and disrupted a great many decades-old practices in fulfilling customer need under a roof.  While it may not be news that parking, malls and traditional retail are finding more selective appeal, what is news is that the rate of change is increasing and mobile-enabled shoppers are accelerating the trend.

How fast?  The Custora E-Commerce Pulse Report published this month puts some genuinely shocking numbers together.  While retail is only a part of e-commerce as a whole, the mobile e-commerce growth in the past four years has made the previous growth patterns in e-tailing look tame by comparison. As RetailCustomerExperience.com writes:

According to the new Custora E-Commerce Pulse Mobile Report, in the past four years the percentage of traffic to e-commerce sites from mobile devices (phones and tablets) jumped from 3 percent to nearly 37 percent, while US mobile e-commerce sales grew from $2 billion in 2010 to $43 billion in 2013.

The Custora E-Commerce Pulse Mobile Report analyzed data from more than 100 retailers, 70 million consumers and $10B in transaction revenue to gain a deeper level of understanding as to which mobile e-commerce trends marketers should pay the closest attention to.

Highlights of the report include:

  • US mobile e-commerce is a $40 billion market, poised to hit $50 billion in 2014. In the past four years, the mobile e-commerce market grew nineteenfold: From $2.2 billion in 2010 to $42.8 billion in 2013. This represents 1875 percent growth over four years, and 111 percent four-year CAGR. 2014 is off to a strong start with $12.2 billion in mobile e-commerce sales in Q1 alone; it’s likely that mobile e-commerce will hit $50 billion in 2014.
  • Email marketing drives mobile purchases; social media not so much. Email marketing drove 27 percent of sales on mobile phones, compared to only 21 percent on desktop, and 23 percent on tablet. This is a surprising data point considering the challenges of displaying email correctly on mobile devices, and deep-linking into mobile apps. Social media accounted for only 0.6 percent of sales on phones and 0.2 percent on tablets.
  • Cross-device shoppers are a small but highly valuable customer segment. As of Q1 2014, just 12 percent of online shoppers make purchases on more than one device type, however this represents significant growth from only 4 percent in 2012. This customer segment is also 19 percent more valuable, in terms of customer lifetime value, than the average single-device shopper.

When markets change, we get in front of those changes or we risk disaster. The rise in e-commerce always suggests that data center and logistics property plays become more attractive.  But when a rise looks this steep – a twelvefold increase in mere years – I think we can replace “suggests” with “screams”.

(Photo credit: Rakeman)

10. July 2014 by Wayne Grohl
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Demand For Airport Real Estate Takes Off


A recent acquisition by a Chicago RE investment firm of Austin, TX airport industrial buildings shows one way to play the US infrastructure slowdown.

Relative to other countries where airport capacity continues to expand, including Canada, Singapore and Germany, US airport property expansion is flat.  A The 2014 report by British consulting firm Skytrax indicates the ten best airports in the world are all located outside the United States. Reports like this tend to underscore what we can see with our own (red) eyes as we drag our luggage through our nation’s airports: outdated, dingy terminals, wretched parking and insufficient access.

The scarcity of new airports has attracted an interesting investment strategy: buying logistics buildings in these airports is a classic example of money following a tight supply. That’s the thinking behind Origin Capital Partners recent snapping up of five industrial properties in Austin’s Bergstrom International Airport.  WSJ’s Barbara Dellolis writes:

Bryan Sullivan, a director of acquisitions at Origin, said the company ventured into the airport space because it sees limited competition, rising demand and constrained supply. The buildings have direct access to the tarmac at a time when the airport’s cargo shipments have been steadily growing due to rising e-commerce and international shipping.

The Origin deal highlights the value investors are placing on airport real estate.

“The investors are playing where they’re not making that much product anymore,” said Tom Kirschbraun, international director with JLL’s Capital Markets. “If they’re buying property on an airport, there’s going to be appreciation of consequence in controlling that kind of real estate.”

Industrial-property rents rise in proportion to airport proximity, Mr. Kirschbraun said. At Chicago O’Hare airport, for instance, “there’s a 30% increase in rent [for buildings] immediately around the airport,” he said.

Most airports are owned by municipal governments, which rent out gates and hangars to airlines, and storefront space inside to retailers, restaurant operators and other concessionaires. On the edges of the airport property, many airports also lease the grounds to private companies, which develop warehouse buildings to rent to airlines and cargo-logistics and handling companies. After the ground lease expires, the property reverts back to the airport.

Acquiring airport industrial property can let you ride the tail of the e-commerce rocket in a whole new way.  Something to consider while you’re stuck on the taxiway.  Again.



07. July 2014 by Wayne Grohl
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Using RPR To Find Ideal Business Locations For Clients

If you haven’t investigated the REALTORS® Property Resource (RPR) by now, this is the perfect time to get an eyeful of this truly cutting-edge data and demographics tool from NAR. Help a business find the best place to locate using demographic, psychographic and spending data to identify areas with the most target customers for the retail business or desirable talent pool for office recruitment.  Check out this video to learn more about your REALTOR® benefit!

When customer attributes drive location decisions, business success follows. But getting the right view of the right demographic sections is no easy task.  RPR was built with the commercial client in mind at every stage, and it shows with every tool and drilldown capability.  Learn more about the incredible RPR at the RPR Blog.

30. June 2014 by Wayne Grohl
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Indiana Commercial Board of REALTORS® Awards 2014 REALTOR® of the Year

Indiana Commercial Real Estate Conference

INDIANAPOLIS – During the Indiana Commercial Board of REALTORS® 20th anniversary celebration at the Indiana Commercial Real Estate Conference, June 20, Brad King was announced as the association’s 2014 REALTOR® of the

Held at the NCAA Conference Center, nearly 250 commercial real estate professionals attended the conference
which provides brokers the opportunity to complete all state continuing education requirements in one day.
Following conference, many gathered to find out and honor this year’s outstanding professional in commercial real

King, a broker with RE/MAX Ability Plus Commercial Division since 2011, was presented the REALTOR® of the Year
award by ICBR in recognition of his professional success, commitment to furthering the commercial real estate
profession and dedication to community involvement.

Brad King

“Brad is a deserving recipient of the 2014 REALTOR® of the Year Award, based on his continued success and
dedication to the industry,” said Steven Martin, 2014 ICBR President. “His involvement and volunteerism over the
years with ICBR and many other professional and community organizations demonstrates his leadership ability and
passion for commercial real estate. I am honored to be able to present him with this award.”

With more than 20 years of experience in real estate marketing, project management, planning and zoning,
economic development and regulatory assistance, King provides clients expertise in tenant representation, owner
representation, incentive procurement and zoning compliance assistance.

As a staff member of former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith starting in 1994, King served as the recording secretary for the Metropolitan Development Commission, then as township administrator followed by five years at the Indianapolis Economic Development Corporation and Indy Partnership. While involved in local economic development, King played a role in implementing the first regional approach to economic development, fostering some of the highest job creation and retention in the City’s recent history.

About The ICBR

The Indiana Commercial Real Estate Conference is recognized as the premier event for real estate professionals to
earn commercial continuing education credits and to gather with like-minded peers. This year’s event is sponsored
by Bradley Company, Hays & Sons Complete Restoration, Sperry Van Ness Commercial Real Estate Advisors,
Brickman Group, Colliers International, Zeller Realty Group, August Mack Environmental, Browning Chapman,
Citimark, Duke Realty, First Financial Bank, Holladay Properties and Quality Building Maintenance. For complete
details, visit www.myICBR.org.

ICBR is a commercial overlay board for commercial real estate professionals. Its members are dedicated to serving
the needs of commercial clients in aspects of brokerage, leasing, appraising, property management, and
development. ICBR has a statewide membership base of more than 600 professionals. For more information, visit
the ICBR website at www.myICBR.org.

30. June 2014 by Wayne Grohl
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CBECS: Major Survey Of Energy Profiles Of Commercial Buildings

English: Logo of the U.S. Energy Information A...

First Wave of the 2012 Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) Released

The first sets of data from the 2012 Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) were released last week in Washington, DC. The data, which is one of several sets to be released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) over the next several months, provides important insights into the national commercial buildings profile and energy use.

The CBECS takes four years to complete from start to finish and the data is referred to by the year of the survey initiation.

What Is The CBRECS?

The CBECS is a national sample survey that collects information on the stock of U.S. commercial buildings, including their energy-related building characteristics and energy usage data (consumption and expenditures). Commercial buildings include all buildings in which at least half of the floorspace is used for a purpose that is not residential, industrial, or agricultural. By this definition, CBECS includes building types that might not traditionally be considered commercial, such as schools, hospitals, correctional institutions, and buildings used for religious worship, in addition to traditional commercial buildings such as stores, restaurants, warehouses, and office buildings.

This initial data set identified more than 100 unique subcategories of building types within the commercial sector, comprising 87.4 billion square feet of floorspace. Buildings used for lodging were shown to be the largest building type measured in square footage. Half of all building types increased in number from 2003 to 2012. The last CBECS was completed in 2003.
Please visit the CBECS web site to learn more about the survey and the data available.


Building characteristics (BC) preliminary estimates
Released June 2014
BC detailed tables
Fall 2014
BC public use microdata
Winter 2014
Consumption & expenditures (C&E) preliminary estimates
Spring 2015
C&E detailed tables
Fall 2015
C&E public use microdata
Winter 2015

For more information on the CBECS survey, please contact Stephanie Spear of NAR Commercial Policy at 202-383-1018.

27. June 2014 by Wayne Grohl
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P3: Federal Property and Public/Private Partnerships

Logo of the United States General Services Adm...

A few days ago, Stephanie Spear,  NAR’s Policy Representative for Commercial Real Estate attended the 3rd Annual Washington DC Federal Property & Public/Private Partnerships Summit put on by Bisnow.  As Stephanie was kind enough to share her notes, a quick report follows on the three sessions, each dedicated to a different aspect of public/private partnerships.

Take it away, Stephanie:

GSA is undergoing a cultural shift in terms of how they approach space and how space is used. This is a result of the Total New Workplace initiative and the executive order to Freeze the Footprint. There are enough large sized, high profile P3 projects that have been successful that it is reasonable to expect more P3 opportunities in the future.

Bottom line for commercial members is that while government funding isn’t increasing, it’s staying steady and there are many opportunities to do business with the government through traditional landlord/tenant relationships and the emerging P3 arrangements. Building owners/lessors who can accommodate the changing needs of the modern workforce will have a better chance of a successful working relationship with the GSA.

Session Notes

Panel 1:  GSA Operations Now And The Future, featuring the Commissioner of the GSA Public Buildings Service and the director of the GSA’s National Capital Region office.


  • Freeze the federal footprint – is happening but is creating more opportunities for private industry partners (landlords, building owners) because agencies have to be more creative with how they use space
  • Market is more competitive because agencies are signing shorter leases so there is more churning going on
  • GSA wants to have agencies be more forward-thinking about the end of their leases and work with landlords to think about it well in advance, work with landlords to get new needs met, concessions, manage the progress from upstream
  • Increased emphasis on reducing the number of lease holdovers being held by GSA
  • Agencies are being responsive to funding challenges and cooperating with shrinking footprint efforts because they understand that it frees up more money for running the actual program
  • “Total New Workplace” – GSA encouragement of new building designs for a remote workforce, hoteling spaces and cooperative work spaces
  • GSA personnel, telework, technology, IT priorities all go into the shrinking footprint and what exactly the remainders look like
  • GSA transparency goals
  • Making a lot of use of Section 14/412 construction/swap authority to be creative about using space, rebuilding, etc
  • Many success stories of P3 projects – The Yards, Old Post Office, St Elizabeth’s – hope to be a model because private industry partners are where the money is – govt doesn’t have, won’t have access to huge cash needed to do these big deals
  • GSA surplus property
  • Trying to be more mindful of using govt resources, part of a larger data-driven effort to be more efficient
  • Property Disposal Unit – 669% increase in properties sold in FY2013 over Fy2012

Panel 2: Talked about a P3 project in DC – was very interesting but hyper-local to DC

Panel 3: Perspectives on Leasing with GSA

  • Cultural shifts from GSA are having an impact on the way agencies use space – ‘total new workplace’ goals are main culprit
  • Skepticism about whether this new style of work will stick around, we have seen it come and go in private sector
  • Competition for contracts has focused on price only instead of best value
  • Structural requirements in procurements are challenging to accommodate in leases
  • Avoiding holdover leases
  • Working with tenants in advance of the lease termination to avoid vacancies
  • Shorter leases will favor new buildings because old buildings can’t be prepared fast enough to accommodate tenants’ needs


24. June 2014 by Wayne Grohl
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Destination Los Angeles: Build Your Global Real Estate Business


Global capital loves real estate. Attracted by its stability, performance and close indication of economic health, the wealth of the world sees real estate as a haven for growth. Opportunities abound for anyone looking out for them.

Making the transition from doing business in a single country to going international is not without its challenges, but as with any specialty, there are proven ways to get there. As always, networking and education top that list of ways. So, heads up: in October, Los Angeles will play host to a global real estate event packed full of both.

Destination Los Angeles is a special conference focused exclusively on working with global clients. Located just a few miles from downtown L.A. on October 2-3:

Destination L.A. will include:

The current lineup of speakers includes:

  • Jennifer Bodetto, the “Hollywood Feng Shui Master,” who has been featured on HGTV’s “Selling LA” show and authored books and articles on this ancient science of design principles.
  • Carmela Ma, CIPS, an international real estate practitioner since the 1970s, is a longtime CIPS instructor who has done business in dozens of countries and spoken around the world on a variety of business topics.
  • Ronald Wong, a political and communications strategist with more than 30 years of experience who has worked for Fortune 500 corporations and served in President Clinton’s Administration. Wong is an expert in targeted outreach, marketing and communications.

Destination LA takes place at the Pasadena Convention Center, nestled in between the city’s Old Pasadena and Playhouse Districts and located just a few miles from downtown Los Angeles. The Pasadena Civic Auditorium, which hosted the Emmy Awards for two decades, sits adjacent to the Destination LA venue.

Access to all events will be $175, though registration for the CIPS course, the networking reception and one-day global event can be purchased a la carte. To learn more about or to register for this event, visit bit.ly/destinationLA or contact Jamie Hu at 626/446-2115 or Jamie@TheAAR.com.

18. June 2014 by Wayne Grohl
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Commercial Podcast: Get Involved With Your Local Association

Leil Koch

Leil Koch, NAR Commercial Committee Chair

In the latest Commercial Connections Podcast: Alex Ruggeri interviews Leil Koch,  Chair of the 2014 NAR Commercial Committee and President of Equity One Real Estate. Leil is an international property specialist and former president of the Hawaiian Association and Maui Board of REALTORS.

When you’re willing to give your time and expertise to serve on local professional organizations, it’s a win for your local association and a win for your own career.  Networking only adds new relationships, and most new business comes from new relationships.

Listen to the latest Commercial Connections Podcast with Leil Koch here.


16. June 2014 by Wayne Grohl
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The GSA’s AAAP Program Makes Leasing To Uncle Sam Easy


Commercial real estate professionals should hear that leasing to the federal government just got a lot easier.

The General Services Administration’s mission is to manage and support the space requirements and other basic functions of the “alphabet soup” of federal government agencies. Of course that includes lots of Washington, DC real estate, but a recent expansion of a technology-supported property and space acquisition program has added Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver and Dallas to the

It’s a savings to taxpayers to streamline the leasing process, and that’s what GSA has undertaken with its expanded Automated Advanced Acquisition Program (AAAP) program. As the GSA says, AAAP will

[...] [make] it easier than ever before for realtors, brokers, lessors, property managers, building owners and developers to electronically offer building space for lease to the federal government. The goal is to drive savings to taxpayers by improving federal leasing efficiency in the real estate market. GSA’s Automated Advanced Acquisition Program (AAAP), which originally launched in 1991 in the Washington, D.C. area, is now available in LA, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver, and Dallas.

Here’s How It Works
Registered commercial real estate participants can submit and update offers to lease space to the federal government within specified time frames, in response to a GSA Request for Lease Proposal. The submission process is web-based, which as you can guess leads to

  • a more efficient lease process
  • cheaper acquisition of real property lease assets
  • improved agency satisfaction

Keep in mind, AAAP is one of several procurement platforms GSA currently uses to lease office space in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and Kansas City.

Click here to check out a post with full introductory information on AAAP, including a schedule of Industry Day events in key cities.


13. June 2014 by Wayne Grohl
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