UCLA Green Building Symposium – Building Better Places

By Brian M. Sterz, UCLA Anderson FEMBA Class of 2014
Originally posted by the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate

On Wednesday, February 26, 2014, the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate and the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability partnered to present the UCLA Green Buildings Symposium – Building Better Places in UCLA Anderson’s Korn Convocation Hall.  The event successfully engaged leading real estate, sustainability, and public policy professionals in a lively debate over current and future drivers and financial incentives for new and existing green building in the Southern California region and across the state.

The Ziman Center and IoES were honored to have Jeffrey T. Mezger, president, chief executive officer, and director of KB Home, launch the symposium with an informative keynote address entitled “The Sustainable Journey.”  Mezger’s presentation chronicled KB Home’s evolution as one of the most innovative sustainability leaders in the real estate industry, and highlighted the company’s opportunity to educate and provide customers with sustainable and environmentally-friendly housing solutions, which are not currently available from competitors or in the existing stock of resale homes.  Mezger concluded his keynote with a glimpse of KB Home’s future “Double Net Zero Home” that will combine cutting edge technology in both energy and water conservation.  (To download Jeff Mezger’s KB Home PPT slide deck PDF, click here.)

Matthew E. Kahn, director of research, UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate, and professor, UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, followed with a critical discussion on current trends and policy initiatives in the sustainable building marketplace.  Kahn noted how new Class A commercial construction had led the way in LEED certification and Energy Star building, and provided data showing that these buildings achieved 2%-6% higher rents because of increased tenant demand.  Kahn believes that the cost of “greening” properties will fall as human capital, including LEED certified real estate professionals, increases and competition from international markets brings down the cost of solar power and other sustainable building products.

The Symposium concluded with a deep-dive panel discussion led by David Hodgins, executive director of the LA Better Buildings Challenge.  Hodgins led the interaction between Daniele Horton, director of sustainability at CommonWealth Partners, and founder and principal, Verdani Partners; Adhamina Rodriguez, director of sustainability at Swinerton Builders; Peter Belisle II, Southwest market director for Jones Lang LaSalle; and Ted Bardacke, deputy director, sustainability on the Budget & Innovation Team for the City of Los Angeles.  Ted addressed the City’s initiatives on climate change resource management, access and availability of housing, equity and public health and the potential effects that policies such as California Assembly Bills AB32 and AB1103 may have on new and existing sustainable housing and construction.

The UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate and the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability would like to thank all industry professionals, faculty and students from across the UCLA campus for attending this successful and timely event.