April 3, 2012

Meidh achieves LEED Platinum for 16 cents per square foot

Des Moines based Meidh Corporation punched another hole in the myth that LEED is expensive, achieving LEED Platinum for its most recent client at a total cost of 16 cents per square foot. The total cost includes all process modifications, capital costs, USGBC fees, and Meidh consulting fees. This new mark breaks the former record set by Meidh of 21 cents per square foot.

“It is rewarding to know that we can prove what we claim,” says Chris Draper, Meidh CEO. “With our suite of Meidh Tech tools, this project required less than three hundred property management hours and pays ownership back in one and a half years. With the right team using the right tools, we’ve proven that sustainability is profitable.”

The 550 South Hope property is a more than 600,000 square foot, 1990s high rise office building located in Downtown Los Angeles. Owned by Principal Real Estate Investors and managed by LBA Realty, 550 South Hope is the first LEED Existing Building to achieve Platinum certification in Los Angeles. Compared to other buildings, the property uses 40% less water and reduced its energy and Greenhouse Gas emissions by over 50%. For less than a $100,000 investment in the LEED process, the property recorded more than a 21% reduction in operational costs.

With the 550 South Hope property, over 50% of Meidh client properties have achieved LEED Gold or higher with 10% achieving LEED Platinum. Meidh typically takes 8 months to complete a LEED EBOM project that produces a payback averaging 7 months, cost reductions averaging up to 25%, and a rental premium between 10% to 25% for multi-tenant buildings.

“It is exciting to work with a world-class asset management team like Principal Real Estate Investors,” says Draper. “We’re excited by their commitment to sustainability, and proud that we have been able to make that commitment profitable.”

October 6, 2011

Meidh Goes Platinum

Meidh Corporation joined an elite consultancy group on Wednesday when  their project, Montgomery Washington Tower in San Francisco, California, achieved LEED Platinum for Existing Buildings.  LEED platinum is the United States Green Building Council’s highest award for sustainability, with only 5% of properties attaining this certification level.  Montgomery Washington Tower is a property that is owned by Principal Real Estate Investors’ Green Fund  and managed by Lincoln Property Company.The LEED Platinum certification clearly identifies the commitment Principal Real Estate Investors, a company of The Principal, has made towards sustainability.  The designation also demonstrates how much money can be saved through effective sustainable operations.

“It’s nice to be part of a great team we have here,” comments Nathan Stahl, Lincoln Property Company Chief Engineer for Montgomery Washington Tower.  “Even with the warm weather we have had in San Francisco recently we have only had to run the chiller for 63 hours this year.”

The associated reductions in energy usage have already had significant, positive impacts on the bottom line.

“The increase in operational efficiency seen at this property will be worth more than $300,000 over the next fifteen years,” says Meidh President and Project Manager Kathy Draper.  “These operations driven energy reductions are one of the best investments a property can make in this challenging economic environment.”

With more than four projects currently undergoing USGBC review, Meidh is expecting a wave of similar successes before the end of the year.  “We’re excited by what we have achieved and what is in the pipeline,” says Chris Draper, Meidh CEO.  “The future is looking bright.”

September 19, 2011

Nationwide earns ENERGY STAR with Meidh

The Nationwide facility at 1100 Locust Street in Des Moines earned its ENERGY STAR Label on Friday with the help of Meidh Corporation.  This Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) distinction means that the Nationwide building is one of the most energy efficient buildings in the country.Meidh, an ENERGY STAR Partner and Des Moines based startup, worked with Nationwide to develop the ENERGY STAR building model.  An effective ENERGY STAR model provides an energy efficiency baseline to measure operational improvements at a facility.

“It is exciting to work with an organization like Nationwide,” says Meidh CEO Chris Draper.  “Many of the companies in Des Moines are more green than they think – we enjoy helping them earn their well deserved accolades.”

Of the over 25,000,000 square feet of commercial property that the Meidh team has benchmarked in ENERGY STAR, only a fraction of that portfolio are properties in Iowa.  Draper hopes the Nationwide project will be the first of many new Iowa properties that achieve the distinction.

“We’re proud of our national success,” comments Draper.  “We’re now looking forward to making an even greater impact in our local community.”

September 9, 2011

Meidh enters Partnership with EPA’s ENERGY STAR®

The Environmental Protection Agency today identified Meidh Corporation as an ENERGY STAR® Partner. The distinction was awarded for the Meidh team’s extensive use of ENERGY STAR analysis tools in assessing and improving energy efficiency and performance at client facilities.

“This is an honor often awarded to companies far larger than us,” says Chris Draper, Meidh CEO. “I think it demonstrates that we are not your typical small firm.”

ENERGY STAR is most often recognized for identifying high efficiency appliances, but an ENERGY STAR Label is also awarded to the top 25% of energy efficient buildings and facilities in the nation. The Meidh team has been responsible for overseeing the assessment and Labeling of over 25,000,000 square feet of commercial real estate across the nation during the last year.

As an ENERGY STAR Partner, Meidh will be responsible for both targeting specific energy efficiency improvements across its client portfolio and supporting community initiatives that improve the measurement and tracking of energy efficiency efforts.

“This Partnership is a two-way street that carries significant responsibility with the recognition,” comments Draper. “We’re excited to get to work.”

September 9, 2011

DM Register: Terrus’ energy management division has left to become Meidh Corp

Article Reprinted from: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011309090051

Terrus optimistic despite losing Principal contract
The Des Moines firm has managed millions of square feet of real estate for Principal.

by David Elbert

Terrus Real Estate Group’s president said the firm has a bright future despite losing its largest contract: managing Principal Financial Group’s holdings.

Principal will transfer management of 4.3 million square feet of commercial real estate, including everything it owns in the Des Moines area, from Terrus to Jones Lang LaSalle of Chicago at the end of the year.

The change will result in the loss of an undisclosed number of jobs at Des Moines-based Terrus, but it is hoped that most of the people who will be displaced will be picked up by Jones Lang LaSalle, said Terrus president Randy Minear.

“We’re very excited about the future and we’re having a great year over and above” the Principal business, Minear said.

Terrus now has about 130 employees, most of whom work in the metro area, Minear said. He declined to estimate how many workers would be affected by Principal’s new contract with the Chicago company.

The reason for the change, Minear said, is that as Principal expands with more overseas operations, the company said it wanted a manager who could oversee all of its property around the globe.

A news release from Jones Lang LaSalle said the 4.3 million square feet of property that it will begin managing after Jan. 1 includes Principal’s 2.4 million- square-foot corporate campus in Des Moines and all of the insurer’s field offices.

“Principal has more than 150 owned and leased offices, occupied by employees of the company, throughout the United States and in more than 15 countries throughout Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America,” the news release said.

Jones Lang LaSalle, which is a publicly traded company, manages 1.8 billion square feet of property with clients in 70 countries, with revenues of $2.9 billion last year, the firm said.

Terrus Real Estate was spun off by Principal in 2001 to manage the insurer’s commercial properties, including its corporate campus.

“We’ve enjoyed a successful partnership with Terrus over the last 10 years and we wish them well,” Principal said in a statement.

As part of the restructuring, Terrus’ energy management division has left to become Meidh Corp. The company has three employees — President Kathy Draper, her son, CEO Chris Draper, and Eric Nelson — and has plans to hire. The company specializes in Energy Star labeling and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for commercial properties.

Chris Draper said Meidh — which is Scottish Gaelic for “balance” — has kept its old contracts from Terrus. The division attained LEED certification for the Meredith headquarters, and said Principal’s 801 Grand is expected to be certified by the end of the year. Nationwide is a client seeking Energy Star compliance.

August 29, 2011

Energy management team leaves Terrus to form Meidh Corporation

The nationally renowned energy management team from Terrus Real Estate Group has left to become Meidh Corporation.  Meidh specializes in Energy Star® labeling and LEED® certification for commercial investment fund and Corporate office properties across the nation.

The Meidh team is best recognized in Des Moines for attaining LEED Existing Building Certification for the Meredith Headquarters.  The Meredith Headquarter is currently the first and only LEED Certified existing building in the state of Iowa, but will likely be joined before the end of the year by another ongoing Meidh project: Principal’s 801 Grand building.

The Meidh team has seen revenues more than triple over a two year period where other commercial real estate segments have struggled.  This growth is due to the team’s focus on helping building owners reduce facility costs by maximizing the performance of their existing systems through energy audits and optimized operations.

“Our team’s success rests in the fact that we are independent analysts,” says Chris Draper, Meidh CEO. “Our focus has been, and will remain, on saving our customers money while improving productivity.  If it’s not cost effective, it’s not sustainable.”

By retaining the team’s contracts, Meidh will begin on a stable footing and continue towards the team’s plan of doubling staff within the next year.  In addition to expanding the reach of its core business, Meidh plans to further develop its proprietary analysis tools through strategic partnerships and licensing agreements with independent start-ups.

In looking towards the future, Draper believes Meidh’s analytical approach to environmentalism will allow it to continue delivering true sustainability.  “We’re a company that knows the value of green.”

August 28, 2011

Energy Disclosure Laws – A Nationwide Trend in Transparency

This article reprinted from: http://www.globest.com/blogs/buildingsciences/Energy-Disclosure-Laws-Energy-Efficient-Buildings-Energy-Audit-312781-1.html


With more information we make better decisions, right?  Well, that’s the idea behind energy disclosure requirements.  States and municipalities are increasingly adopting energy disclosure laws, requiring commercial building owners to report the energy efficiency of their buildings annually and pre-transaction.  Some laws also require energy audits, retrocommissioning and/or retrofits.  Energy disclosure laws vary from public disclosure (New York City) to private disclosure (California).

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Urban Land Institute’s Policy and Practice Forum in at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago: The New Transparency in Real Estate – Sustainability Metrics, Asset Performance, and Public Disclosure.  There I had a chance to hear from a number of leading experts in the fields of sustainability and energy efficiency, as well as tour a number of leading sustainability buildings in Chicago, including the Merchandise Mart owned by Vornado Realty Trust and 300 North LaSalle Street owned by Hines – both amazing buildings leading the sustainability forefront.


Energy efficiency and disclosure – who’s on board?

What stood out to me at the ULI forum was the enthusiasm for and support of energy efficiency and disclosure laws by both city leaders and major real estate investment groups.

At the forum were city leaders such as Jayson Antonoff, City of Seattle, Barry Hooper, City and County of San Francisco, and Laurie Kerr, City of New York.   They spoke of the successes of their disclosure laws and the positive effects on their cities, from increasing the grade of current building stock, decreasing carbon emissions, increasing value and net operating income of commercial buildings, to job creation from the green implementations.

It was great to see the participation and even leadership from some of the largest real investment groups in the United States.  Chuck Leitner, Chairman of RREEF, now also is the Chief Executive Officer of Greenprint Foundation.  Greenprint Foundation is a worldwide alliance of real estate owners, investors, financial institutions and other industry stakeholders committed to reducing carbon emissions across the global property industry.  Members include Beacon Capital Partners, Douglas Emmett, GLL Real Estate Partners, Jones Lang LaSalle, McArthur Glen Group, Paramount Group, PATRIZIA Immobilien, Deutsche Bank, Aetos Capital, AvalonBay, The Blackstone Group, Equity Office Properties, Henderson Global Investors, Hines, Prudential Real Estate Investors, Sonae Sierrra, DEXUS Property Group, TIAA-CREF, and others.  With this group of real estate giants on board, it makes it easier to get smaller mom and pop shops to see the value in energy efficiency and disclosure laws.


What are the benefits of energy disclosure?

If a building purchaser considers two comparable buildings and discovers that they have drastically different energy efficiency ratings, his or her purchasing decision will be influenced.  Perhaps they are drawn to the more efficient, more attractive green building.  Or, a savvy investor might use the information to negotiate a reduced price to the inefficient building and invest in upgrades.  Investing in energy efficient measures  or “EEMs”, even relatively simple lighting upgrades, can offer significant returns.

With greater transparency the market rewards efficient buildings – studies have shown green buildings command higher rent premiums and sale prices, have improved marketability, and increase tenant satisfaction and retention.  Additionally, many pension funds and other investment arms are requiring that their investment advisors have a “green real estate portfolio”, or at a minimum a “greening plan.”


Where is energy disclosure required?

Energy disclosure laws exist now in California, San Francisco, Washington state, Seattle, Austin, Washington, DC and New York City.  Many other state and local governments are in the process of introducing bills related to energy performance reporting, including: Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Portland, Tennessee and Vermont.  Over a dozen other states have appointed Energy Task Forces that are analyzing their states’ needs and are considering legislature in the next couple of years.


While this trend might be seen as adding more bureaucracy and red tape, one could look at anenergy rating as a valuable piece of information and an opportunity.