Top Ten Cleantech Real Estate Projects in the United States

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It is not enough just to talk about clean technologies, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency, but they must be promoted and utilized in businesses, arenas, and homes as well. Currently, there are a number of real estate projects that assist in making the United States much more energy efficient and greener, reducing the need for fossil fuels and shrinking the greenhouse gas effect.

1) Arkansas Home Energy Consultants. In an effort to increase energy efficiency within existing as well as new residential structures, Home Energy Consultants in Arkansas are providing their assistance. In all new homes, they created an Energy Star Qualified Homes Program as well as technical assistance and training for all construction companies. Existing homes are provided with a Diagnostic Energy Audit to find areas where electricity is being overused, and then provide an inexpensive energy saving improvement program.

2) Promotion of City Green Building in Seattle, Washington. Seattle, Washington has often been seen as a leader in cleantech real estate projects in an effort to make their city more “green.” For example, the Green Building Sustainable Communities Program, created by the Seattle Department of Planning and Development, aims to provide the necessary support in ensuring that future city projects utilize renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.

3) State of New Jersey Green Homes Office. New Jersey supports a large number of programs to assist with the creation of buildings and homes that are energy efficient and use renewable energy. The State of New Jersey Green Homes Office is an organization heavily devoted to assisting with the development of buildings that will ensure a sustainable New Jersey. This program offers financial and technical assistance to building developers to guarantee that they not only incorporate, but also standardize the utilization of efficient and sustainable design practices that do not harm the environment.

4) Florida Babcock Ranch. Started in 2009, Babcock Ranch, a project created by real estate company Kitson and Partners, aims to become one of the first sustainable cities in the United States. With more than 17,000 acres at their disposal, the plan is to erect a number of office buildings, retail centers, light industrial spaces, and 20,000 residences all in line with Florida Green Building Council standards and will be powered using a solar PV energy facility.

5) Michigan Renewable Schools Program. 2011 saw the expansion of the Michigan Renewable Schools Program by Energy Works Michigan. With a contract from the Michigan Public Service Commission for $4.4 million, this project creates the ability to provide 90 K-12 private and public school in the state with solar and wind power generation systems by 2014. By the close of 2010, the project was already able to provide these systems to 30 schools. The project also provides energy audits as well as technical assistance to schools to aid in reducing total electricity costs and increasing energy efficiency.

6) North Carolina Farm Energy Efficiency Project. While most programs focus on businesses and homes, a number of real estate projects, especially in the south, focus on farms. For example, there is the Farm Energy Efficiency Project in North Carolina. This project was created by a partnership between the North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation and the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission to assist in creating more energy efficient farms. The Projects instructs farm owners on how to become energy efficient and provides the resources to make necessary improvements. The project offers a number of financial assistance programs to offset costs incurred by farmers in implementing energy efficient measures and renewable energy technologies.

7) Renewable Energy Project at the Philadelphia Eagles Stadium. Going down the list of renewable energy projects, one cannot forget the strides many sporting arenas are taking to become more energy efficient and use renewable energy. Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, home to the Eagles, is set to become the first major sports arena to be powered fully by renewable energy through the use of solar and wind technologies. The project is supported by a number of renewable energy companies, including SolarBlue. Completed by the end of 2011, the project will save the stadium more than $60 million in total energy costs.

8 ) Philips Arena goes LEED in Atlanta, Georgia. The home of the NHL Thrashers, Philips Arena in Atlanta in 2009 received LEED for Existing Building: Operations and Maintenance certification. This marked the first time an existing arena obtained LEED status. Working with a national leader in sustainable building promotion, Southface, the company provided technical assistance when it came to upgrading the energy performance of the arena, as well as water consumption, indoor air quality, and total waste management. This project aims to start a domino effect in the United States for other venues to become more energy efficient.

9) Seattle Energy Efficient Real Estate Fund. GSB Ventures, a Seattle0based real estate company, created the Seattle Energy Efficient Real Estate Fund in 2009 to promote energy efficiency. Starting with $50 million in funding money, the project aims to rebuild distressed homes currently on the market and utilize energy efficient measures, afterward, putting them back on the market for rent or buy. The first real estate fund of its kind, the project aims to increase and get federal debt funding and take advantage of tax credits and rebates for energy efficiency in the homes.

10) Going Green in Greensburg, Kansas. In 2007 an F5 tornado hit the town of Greensburg, Kansas, wiping much of the city out. When discussing the rebuilding of the city, Greensburg decided to live up to its name and rebuild its entire city “Green.” This rural city declared that it would become the national model of environmentally conscious living. Although the rebuild would cost more than average, the energy savings would make up for the cost. Greensburg is set to become a “living lab.” All buildings more than 4,000 square feet will get the USGBC LEED Platinum rating, including City Hall, which will be installed with solar panels and be constructed from recycled bricks. All electricity in the city will be from renewable sources. Numerous research institutes, cleantech companies, and universities are aiding in the effort.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at shawn@watershedcapital.com

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Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.