Green is Here to Stay: How Eco is Growing in Commercial Real Estate Projects

If you are planning on building a new commercial structure, one of your primary considerations will likely be whether or not to use green technologies to construct the building, as well as whether or not to integrate green technologies, such as solar, wind or other alternative sources of energy. As the scientific evidence continues to mount showing that fossil fuel sources are rapidly depleting, it behooves any company planning or considering new commercial construction to look carefully at the ways green technology can be used to save costs.

The Focus of Green Building Strategies

One of the principle goals of green building is to maximize sustainability, i.e., to incorporate technologies that minimize waste and maximize the reusability of resources. The primary ways that green technology seeks to promote sustainability are:

  • By encouraging site and structure design efficiency—This involves minimizing the total environmental impact, such as the effect on water tables, flood zones and local ecosystems.
  • By promoting energy efficiency—Energy efficiency is maximized through the use of high R value insulation, as well as thermal windows. Passive solar power may be used to augment other forms of energy. Windows and doors can also be placed to maximize the use of the sun’s heat and energy.
  • By promoting water efficiency—Green building involves minimizing the disposal of water and maximizing the use of recycled water. It also includes low flush toilets, low-flow shower heads and the use of on-demand water heaters.
  • By promoting materials efficiency—This includes the use of “green” lumber from forests that are considered green, as well as the use of rapidly renewable products, such as bamboo or straw. It also encourages the use of recycled materials, such as stone, metal and sand. It calls for the use of building materials that require minimal amounts of energy to produce, such as adobe, clay, concrete and compressed earth blocks.

Cost may be an initial concern when you are deciding whether to go green. There are the costs of photo-voltaic products, new appliances and other items. According to studies, most construction projects involving green technologies have about a 2% increase in cost. The analysis, however, needs to consider the up-front costs with the long term costs, as studies have also shown that there can be up to 20% savings in costs over the life of a building when green technologies are integrated. These savings come from a variety of sources, with the bulk from decreased energy costs. There may also be tax deductions and there can be higher worker productivity. Studies also show that green commercial property obtained higher rents, higher sales prices and higher occupancy rates.

NJ DEP Releases NJ Land Leasing Process for State Land

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has created a special panel to overhaul the state’s method of leasing property to private companies that run electric lines, cables, pipelines, and towers across state-owned land and water.

The new panel is charged with the responsibility of examining how lease agreements are currently structured and created.  Based upon its findings the panel will develop and recommend a new leasing formula designed to treat all companies that do business with the state fairly and equally.  The panel’s recommendations are expected later this year and will be presented to Governor Christie.

In previous years, leases were not crafted with a consistent and logical approach and the state apparently did not keep accurate records of all the lease transactions.  DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said “…an improved process would be fairer for businesses that seek to use state lands, allowing them to better predict and understand costs associated with leasing those lands…If we want companies to do business in New Jersey, we must have a system that is clear and easily understood.”  The Commissioner went on to say that businesses should be able to clearly understand the state’s mitigation rules, formula and know how much money it will cost them.”

The DEP owns 800,000 acres of land  accessed or used by public companies and in many cases operating on outdated and sometimes expired agreements.  As part of the panel’s review it will do a thorough inventory and cataloguing of DEP land agreements.  The goal is to “establish a framework for a system that is right for the taxpayers and the environment, while also being fair to businesses.”

New Jersey real estate attorneys provide advice on leasing and land use

Leasing and land use agreements can be complex and requires the assistance of an experienced New Jersey real estate attorneyContact us online or call 856-427-4200 to discuss your leasing and land use matter today.


The NJ Solar Energy Boom

When you think of New Jersey, leader in solar energy might not be the first thought that comes to mind. But in fact, according to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities the state has more solar power installed per capita than California.

In 1999, New Jersey passed a law that created the Clean Energy Program, which is a state wide program that offers rebates, programs, and services for residents, business owners, and local governments to help them save energy, money and the environment.  The program has also created a market for solar renewable energy credits (SRECs), which pays solar consumers to generate solar power. With a combination of SRECs and federal tax credits, hypothetically solar energy consumers could save thousands of dollars annually on their electricity bills.

In 2010, the state legislature also passed the Solar Energy Advancement and Fair Competition Act which requires the state to get a percentage of its electricity from solar sources. Energy providers for the state were required to collectively purchase at least 300GWh of solar-generated electricity in the first year and in each successive year the solar energy requirement increases as much as 20 percent until 2026.

Other recent environmental laws have created a commission to study the impact of solar and renewable energy on property values, land use, planning, and development – and projected cost savings for the state.

Recently, Governor Christie released the state’s 2011 Energy Master Plan (EMP) which has the goal of promoting energy solutions that are efficient and cost-effective. The EMP effects policy changes meant to reduce the financial burden of state utility providers in promoting clean energy. The impact of the EMP on New Jersey’s clean energy initiatives is yet to be seen but some fear that the state’s role as a leading solar power provider could be in danger.

Contact a New Jersey Real Estate Attorney Today

Solar and renewable energy are the wave of the future and its impact on real estate, land use, and development is yet to be fully seen. From the most complex commercial matter to single family properties our NJ real estate attorneys  can advise you on how renewable energy affects your property.  Contact us online or call 856-427-4200 today to schedule a consultation.