Going Green at Cummings Properties
 

An early leader in the green building movement, Cummings Properties' latest development, TradeCenter 128 on Route 128 in Woburn is LEED Gold pre-certified. Businesses at this 400,000 SF, first-class office complex fronting Routes 128 and Interstate 95 in Woburn, MA will benefit from lower utility costs, improved air quality and lighting, and green housekeeping.

TradeCenter 128 features operable windows, high-performance glass, high-recycled content materials, on-site public transportation, preferred parking for low emission vehicles, premium efficiency HVAC and lighting systems, and energy-recovery fresh-air ventilators. For leasing information, visit TradeCenter128.com.

TradeCenter 128 is also ideal for solar panel installation. Cummings Properties is interested in developing photo-voltaic solar panel sites on its commercial property and will lease clear roof space for power purchase agreements (PPAs). Cummings will sell renewable energy credits (RECs).

 

Cummings Properties is also home to a growing community of clean energy companies including Agrivida, Bioenergy International, ElectroChem, GEO2 Technologies, and Mascoma.

This latest achievement continues Cummings Properties' long history of energy-saving construction and utilization of recycled materials, including several "Energy Star" buildings, and major recycling programs in most of its many properties. Cummings has recently established the position of Sustainability Manager to coordinate its energy saving and recycling efforts for this full service real estate firm with more than seven million square feet of office space in greater Boston.

 

 

The following article ran in the May 16-22 edition of the Boston Business Journal's "Sustainable Boston" special section.

Developers see dollar signs in building green properties

By Denise Magnell
Journal Staff

 
   

Among the advertisements touting the soon-to-be-completed TradeCenter 128 office complex along I-95 in Woburn is this new selling point: "An early leader in the green building movement, (owner) Cummings Properties latest development, TradeCenter 128, is LEED Gold pre-certified."

The 550,000-square-foot project is one of the first developments in Massachusetts - the River's Edge mixed-use project along the Malden River is another - to get the coveted "gold" standard. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, a trade group that promotes environmentally friendly building strategies.

"We absolutely believe in having this in our marketing of the building because we've seen others marketing this way. If we don't people will ask, 'Why not?' said James Trudeau, the design manager for Cummings Properties. "Tenants are using it when they compare one building to another. It's not a deal maker, but it makes people feel they are in a current, up-to-date project."

Along those same lines, Woburn-based Cummings is hardly alone when it recognizes the favorable impression green construction makes on the buying public these days.

In fact, a slew of developers and commercial brokers are finding it pays to go green. Put differently: Homebuyers and building tenants seem to like the idea of going green, and property owners are wagering that those potential customers are willing to pay for those features.

Boston-based BlueWave Strategies, a business-advisory firm that consults with companies on environmental issues, has seen the development and marketing of green buildings proliferate as sustainability becomes the norm in the commercial world. Some companies are even racing to secure LEED branding before their building projects are even complete.

"We're seeing it in ads and Web sites for the office sector, and it's beginning in the retail sector," said Stephanie Pollack, a BlueWave partner and senior vice president. "Precertification given by the U.S. Green Building Council allows companies to advertise that theirs will be a certified building when it is completed."

To be sure, branding seems to be a key component to the prefinished certification trend. The USGBC's so-called "core and shell" certifications were created to enable buildings to get credit for exterior green construction.

From only a dozen such certifications in Massachusetts a few years ago, there were 59 precertified through April, "with 1,300 in the pipeline," said Pollack. "What that tells you is there's clearly a market for it."

BlueWave consults on projects that include Southfield, a 1,400-acre mixeduse plan for the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station; Forbes Park, a brownfields redevelopment project on the Chelsea waterfront; and Harvard University's expansion into the Allston neighborhood of Boston.

Likewise, the Olmstead Green mixeduse project is advertised widely as Boston's first "green living" community. On the grounds of the former Boston State Hospital in Mattapan, it will include 500 condominiums and rental apartments equipped with energy-efficient appliances, bamboo flooring, recycled tiling and permeable pavement that allows waste water to seep into the ground rather than storm drains.

"In both instances, condominiums and rentals, it's advantageous to be green, kind of like getting the Good Houskeeping Seal of Approval," said Kirk Sykes, president of the New Boston Urban Strategy America Fund, which is co-developing the project.

CB Richard Ellis, a commercial real estate services firm, has agreed to pursue LEED certification for 100 office buildings it manages nationwide, and it is tapping another USGBC program to complete the task. That translates into 615 million square feet of commercial space where energy-saving and environmentally-friendly practices will be implemented. Several of those buildings are located in Greater Boston.

Shay Sims, a CBRE vice president in charge of green initiatives in Boston, said the program establishes best practices to lower a building's operating and energy costs.

"The tenants love it, they see it as a good recruiting tool," he said. "We believe going through this process creates a high value for these properties."

 
 
 
 
Cummings Properties LLC, 200 West Cummings Park, Woburn, MA 781-935-8000