So Many Ways to Green Apartments

Editor-in-Chief Diana Mosher prepares to attend the U.S. Green Building Council's GreenBuild.

Diana Mosher

As I make my final travel plans to attend the U.S. Green Building Council’s GreenBuild in Toronto, I’m “taking lemons and making lemonade.” Because I was late in making a reservation, all the downtown hotels are full. So the next best choice was to find lodging near the airport. A quick Google revealed that InterContinental’s lower-priced Indigo Boutique Hotel brand is right near the airport. I’m interested to see how they’ve approached the marketplace. I was reminded, while chatting to the members of a very successful marketing team at the MHN Excellence Awards event in New York last month, that hospitality spaces can provide a wealth of ideas for multifamily owners, builders and property managers—from the initial presentation as expressed in curb appeal to the interior design, marketing concepts and efficiency of overall operations. So Indigo here I come… and hopefully you’ve taken a page from Aloft (the Starwood boutique-hotel brand) where I’ve been a happy guest.

The first time I attended GreenBuild was … [hold on while I Google it quickly] … in 2003 when the conference was in Pittsburgh. That was only GreenBuild’s second year and since then its varied attendance has grown to approximately 23,000, where it has leveled off during the downturn. If you’re not sending someone to this national green building show every so often, this is a missed opportunity to obtain a sneak preview of the trends that will be affecting multifamily down the road as well as tips for implementing what’s going on now. MHN reports from the conference daily, so keep an eye on Top Stories at www.multi-housingnews.com and be sure to sign up for your free MHN Online Daily subscription if you don’t currently receive our daily news edition.

We’re also talking to the industry about California’s new Renter’s Right to Recycle Act, which requires recycling services to be provided for paper, plastic and cans in buildings with five or more apartments. The bill was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 8. In Los Angeles, 180,000 apartments currently don’t have recycling in their buildings, according to Bureau of Sanitation statistics. Impediments have included limited space for recycling bins or collection trucks, the inability to obtain resident buy-in needed to sort their trash and garbage chutes that don’t suit recycling. Expect to see changes in building design going forward that will help eliminate these roadblocks. California frequently leads the way, so we will likely see other cities following the example set by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has set a zero waste goal. According to the Los Angeles Times, the city boasts a 70 percent rate of diverting trash from landfills, which are filling to capacity. The bill’s author, Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills), said that if no recycling plan can be agreed upon for a particular building, it can be exempt from the regulation. But it will be the recycling companies, which have an incentive to make a new system work, that will certify a building’s inability to institute recycling. Trash and recycling hauler Waste Management Inc. is building a $40 million recycling facility in Sun Valley. MHN will be following the story; we invite you to contribute your thoughts on this topic. Email us at dmosher@multi-housingnews.com.

Diana Mosher
Editor-in-Chief
dmosher@multi-housingnews.com