Going Green: Panelists Discuss Trends, Challenges

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorTeaneck, N.J.–Every year, the Industrial and Office Real Estate Brokers Association of the New York Metropolitan Area (IOREBA) showcases the projects of dozens of regional developers and includes a panel discussion on a pressing industry issue. This year, it was “Going Green.”Two hundred members and guests attended IOREBA’s 16th annual “Developer’s Night” dinner held recently in Teaneck, N.J., where panelists discussed issues including green architecture, cost of green design, certification and the behavioral changes that are required in the industry to get it to go green. Representing the New Jersey Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, Bill Lashbrook, senior vice president, PNC Bank Real Estate Finance, moderated this year’s panel, which explored green practices. Participants included Joshua Adler, partner, Adler Development; LEED-certified Architect Keith Lesser, partner of IS&L; Laurie McMahon, senior vice president, property and project management, Cassidy & Pinkard Colliers in Washington, DC; and Irene Santoscoy, EHS program manager for properties and transactions at the General Electric Co.“The panelists each brought a distinct perspective and expertise. However, they all agreed that ‘going green’ must be a mindset for real estate practitioners,” noted IOREBA President Hal Messer of NAI James E. Hanson.“One of the most challenging issues facing us is justifying initial cost versus long-term savings,” architect Keith Lesser, AIA, partner of IS&L, an architecture and design studio based in Fairlwan, N.J., tells MHN. “Buildings consume 40 percent all energy and 70 percent of all electricity. If every home and building were energy-efficient, the energy crises would not be a problem,” says Lesser.“We need to focus on going green. It will create new jobs, make us less dependent on foreign oil and bring down the cost of energy. We in the design community believe it is the only way to go,” he adds.Proceeds from the event benefit IOREBA’s Scholarship Fund. The organization awards substantial cash scholarships annually to graduate students studying real estate at universities and colleges in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.