We Build Green Because It’s a Fundamental Issue of Quality and What Is Better

The CEO of real estate developer Hines Interests, Jeffrey Hines, was recently awarded the Green Building Design Award from Global Green USA at their 9th Annual New York Awards Ceremony. Hines received the award for commitment on part of his company to sustainability, which is reflected in his leadership role with the U.S. Green Building Council and the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program. Hines Interests founded a green real estate development fund with CalPERS. In addition, the company developed the ((Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) LEED-certified luxury residential condominium, One Jackson Square in New York’s Greenwich Village. Two years ago, the company decided to create only LEED-certified buildings. David Penick (pictured), vice president of development at Hines Interests is responsible for development, construction and operation of projects in the New York Metropolitan area. He talks to MHN Online News Editor Anuradha Kher about One Jackson Square, the green fund and winning the award.MHN: Why did One Jackson Square win the award?Penick: One Jackson Square represents a new way of enlightened living and dedication to environmental stewardship and social responsibility. Its sustainable design features include an expansive green roof equal to more than 20 percent of the overall site area, an eco-friendly landscaping system that serves to reduce the building’s overall water usage by half, ultra-efficient heating and cooling systems, environmentally-friendly building materials, and architectural design choices that maximize availability of natural light.MHN: Hines was involved in the creation of the first green real estate development fund with CalPERS. What is the money in this fund used for? Penick: The Hines CalPERS Green Development Fund (HCG), capitalized with more than $120 million of committed equity, has the ability to invest up to $500 million. MHN: What prompted the company two years ago to build only LEED-certified buildings?Penick: Hines is the largest Energy Star building owner, developer and operator in the country, other than the federal government. Our founder, Jerry Hines, is committed to the belief that so long as the resources and technologies are available to developers, we are obligated to use them. It is a fundamental issue of quality and what is better. With each new building we develop, our goal is to develop it better. Sustainable real estate development, as laid out by LEED’s requirements, is better in terms of environmental health, human health, energy-efficiency, and comfort. It is as simple as that.MHN: What are some of the other green multifamily projects your company is building right now? Penick: Hines is currently developing a number of residential projects across the country such as, CityCenter DC in Washington, D.C.; Shangri-la New York; South Station in Boston; Overton Park in Atlanta and Palencia in St. Augustine, Fla. All of the projects have or will undergo the LEED certification process.   MHN: Does Hines Interests have international projects? Where?  Penick: Yes, Hines develops properties across the globe. Currently we are working on residential properties in Shanghai, China (California Place, 21st Century Tower, and Riverhouse); Milan, Italy (Garibaldi and Varesine); Barcelona, Spain (Illa del Mar); Monterrey, Mexico (Punto Central); Boulogne-Billancourt; France ( Renault Site); Jalisco, Mexico (TRES60 Acueducto) and Berlin, Germany (Upper Eastside Berlin).  MHN: What significance does this award have for your company? Penick: This award further reinforces Hines’ longstanding dedication to sustainable practices. Hines now has 12 projects that have been certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Green Building Rating System, 18 that have been pre-certified and 64 that are registered under LEED’s various programs. Together these U. S.G.B.C logo projects represent more than 60 million sq. ft.