US is World’s Most Transparent Real Estate Market

A report released last week by Jones Lang LaSalle’s 2012 Global Real Estate Transparency Index reveals a renewed impetus in transparency improvements across the world’s real estate markets. Nearly 90% of markets have registered progress in transparency since 2010.  The United States ranks as the world’s most transparent real estate market in 2012, followed by United Kingdom and Australia.

It is interesting to note that environmental sustainability has emerged as an important transparency factor with the UK, Australia and France being the most transparent markets in terms of real estate sustainability. The UK  introduced the world’s first Green Building rating system while Australia has been the test bed for new environmental laws, regulations and incentives.

Why is Transparency Important?

Rising levels of transparency are associated with an increase in foreign direct investment – this is a powerful incentive to encourage free-flowing information and apply local law fairly and consistently.

Jones Lang LaSalle’s Real Estate Transparency Index charts the steady progress of real estate transparency in 81 markets across the globe. It highlights the important differences you experience when transacting, owning and operating in foreign markets. It also provides governments and industry organizations with a point of reference to measure and improve transparency within their own markets.


Source: Jones Lang LaSalle

To read and download the full report, please visit:

Boeing: Green Technology with Solar-Powered Aircraft

Boeing recently signed an $89 million deal with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop an unmanned solar-powered aircraft. The aircraft, dubbed, The Solar Eagle, will have its first flight in 2014. “SolarEagle is a uniquely configured, large unmanned aircraft designed to eventually remain on station at stratospheric altitudes for at least five years,” said Pat O’Neil, Boeing Phantom Works program manager for Vulture II. “That’s a daunting task, but Boeing has a highly reliable solar-electric design that will meet the challenge in order to perform persistent communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions from altitudes above 60,000 feet.” Boeing will launch two new prototypes next year, a stealth combat aircraft and a hydrogen-powered high-altitude aircraft.

“Vampire Power”

iGO, the company behind eco-friendly universal chargers and power management solutions, has been awarded United States Patent relating to its novel approach to reducing wasted standby power, commonly referred to as “vampire power.” This represents the second patent received on iGo Green Technology(TM), which allows consumers and businesses to automatically reduce vampire power by up to 85%. “We are very pleased to continue building our portfolio of intellectual property relating to iGo Green Technology and strengthen our competitive advantage in the category of eco-friendly power management solutions,” said Michael D. Heil, president and chief executive officer of iGo. iGo Green Technology is currently featured in iGo’s smart, energy-efficient Laptop Wall Charger, which automatically detects when a laptop is not in use and shuts off power drawn from the wall, automatically eliminating wasted vampire power by up to 85%. This first-ever green laptop charger is compatible with the most popular laptops on the market and also allows users to charge two devices from one charger at the same time by using its integrated USB charging port. Travel friendly, the laptop charger works worldwide without the need for a separate voltage converter. The iGo Green Technology line, including the iGo Green Laptop Chargers and Power Smart Towers, could have saved U.S. consumers more than $300 million last year by reducing vampire power. To learn more about energy-efficient iGo Green Technology products, please visit

Report: U.S. Green Building Market Will Reach $173.5 Billion by 2015

According to the most recent report by EL Insights, the U.S. green building market value will balloon from $71.1 billion now to $173 billion by 2015. Of that, commercial green building is expected to grow by 18.1% annually during the same time period from $35.6 billion to $81.8 billion. This explosive projected growth is attributed both to a growing recognition of the potential cost-savings as well as incentives from the government. Green building renovation also comprises a significant portion of future green building. The growth in green building will lead to a number of changes in the broader building market, according to EL Insights: Construction workers will increasingly seek out green training programs, companies will spend more cash on green building technology, and homes touting green building features will do better on the real estate market. All of this will result in cost savings for building and home owners, who will reap the benefits of lower energy and heating bill. The U.S. Green Building Council, offers virtually endless amounts of information on green building studies and LEED certification.

The Global Market For Green Building Materials Market to Reach $406 Billion by 2015

The world market for green building materials is expected to reach $406 billion by the year 2015. This growth will be fueled primarily by increased awareness of environmental concerns worldwide, high-energy costs, awareness of well-being and productivity benefits of green buildings, and decreasing costs of green building materials. The green building concept is set to become a global phenomenon, transforming from a niche arena to a mainstream concept. Green buildings are transforming the construction industry landscape, including both residential and commercial sectors. Owing to increased awareness of environmental concerns the world over, government mandates and voluntary standards are driving the growth of green buildings, and in parallel the demand for green building materials. Green floorings represent the largest and fastest growing green building materials in the US, followed by green concrete and green roofs. Green floor coverings are eco-friendly green building products that are made from a variety of materials, such as cork, carpet, bamboo, linoleum, ceramic tile, and hardwood. In addition, the practice of planted green roofs, is gaining momentum in several cities in the US. In terms of end-use markets, residential sector constitutes the largest market for green building materials, while non-residential sector represents the fastest growing market.

For more details about this comprehensive market research report, please visit –

Tony Blair Joins CA Based Green Technology VC

Khosla Ventures, the Menlo Park, Calif., firm founded by Vinod Khosla in 2004, stated Tony Blair will advise their portfolio companies on public policy. Khosla is currently investing $1.1 billion in tech firms, including so-called clean technology. Blair currently leads the “Breaking the Climate Deadlock” effort, which aims to build consensus on international climate policy. Blair stated that technology might help solve the “twin challenges” of energy security and climate change. “Solving the climate crisis is more than just a political agenda item. It’s an urgent priority that requires innovation, creativity and ambition,” Blair noted. “I share a clear vision with Vinod, one of the earliest leaders in clean-tech investment, that entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and beyond will have a tremendous impact on our environmental future.” One of Khosla Ventures portfolio companies uses carbon emissions to make cement products. Even as other venture capitalists have scaled back, due to high costs and unproven technologies, Khosla has continued to invest in the sector.  Overall, the total venture capital invested in clean technology companies fell to $2.3 billion in 2009, down from $4.1 billion in 2008, according to the National Venture Capital Assn.

How the US Falls Short in RE

The US has a number of clean energy companies, the only problem is they focus their efforts overseas, taking with them jobs, investment, and renewable energy opportunities here at home. Foreign government policies in countries like China and France are driving this migration of clean energy companies and skilled labor overseas. The US’s competitive position is at risk in the emerging global clean and renewable energy economy. According to Bloomberg new Energy Finance, global renewable energy investment is expected to reach $200 billion by the end of 2010, representing a 25% increase over 2009. In 2009, China overtook the United States in renewable energy investments due to a relentless push in solar, clean water, and especially wind technology. Of the G20 Nations, the US ranks 11th in terms of percentage of GDP invested in clean energy products.

From Fuel Efficient to Fuel Independent

Nissan Motor Co. announced today that its eagerly anticipated, 100% electric car, will cost just over $25,000 in the U.S. This move should benefit US consumers as Nissan’s rivals will be pressured to lower prices on similar vehicles. The Nissan Leaf, is a four-door hatchback which Nissan expects to hit US showrooms later this year. At under $30,000 Nissan hopes to attract the mainstream car buyers to this 100% electric vehicle that can travel up to 100 miles on a single charge from a home outlet. Currently, General Motors Co., which also will begin selling its Chevrolet Volt rechargeable electric car later this year, said that it will look at Nissan’s pricing before announcing the Volt’s price closer to its December sales date. The Volt, can travel 40 miles on a full electricity charge before its small gas engine kicks in to provide power. Still other competitors, such as Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, also plan to introduce fully electric cars, but those will come out after the Volt and Leaf hit showrooms in December. The Volt and Leaf are the first two electric cars to go on sale that will appeal to the mass market.

Nissan says the Leaf will cost 3.76 million yen ($40,000) in Japan. It will price the car lower in the U.S. because it wants to sell more of them in that market. The automaker says it is confident it can still make money at that price. GM argues that the Volt is a better value than the Leaf because drivers don’t have to worry about running out of electricity, as the car’s gas engine gives it nearly unlimited range. Although the Volt can travel farther, GM will still compete with the Leaf on price, specifically among drivers who don’t drive that far or who have a second car for long-distance travel. The Leaf will appeal mainly to suburban commuters, a smaller market, because of its 100-mile range limit.

Overall, many analysts see the cars as the beginning of automakers trying to determine how to equip and market electric cars. With the strong success of Toyota’s Prius sales, the market for fuel efficient or fuel independent cars is widening, causing automakers to focus more of their attention on this growing segment.

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Going Green: Mutual Funds

Going green is not only great for the environment and eco-friendly but investing in green has also become good business. But what is the safest way for investors to get into the green market? In the article “Going Green With Mutual Funds” written by Mark Veverka he suggests that the best way to invest in green companies is through actively managed green mutual funds. Single-sector funds tend to be volatile, much like the industries they track. The green industry is influenced primarily by government policies, subsidies and regulations which can change rapidly and impact markets, according to John Segrich of Gabelli SRI Green Mutual Fund (MUTF: SRIAX). Segrich’s green mutual fund launched in 2007 and was the best performer in its category in 2009.

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Green Office Buildings Demand 2% Higher Rents, 16% Higher Property Values.

In a working paper by noted economist and professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkley, John M. Quigley shows that historically, rents for green offices have been shown to demand a nearly 2% rental premium over comparable buildings. These premiums, Quigley argues, are related to the building’s energy-saving characteristics. His results indicate the importance of obtaining a green label and its subsequent effects on market rent and overall values of commercial units. Quigley’s results suggest that if given two otherwise identical commercial buildings, the building with an Energy-Star certification will rent for about three percent more per square foot, and when cap rates are taken into account, the difference in effective rent is nearly double. In addition to higher rents, his findings suggest that the selling price for the Energy-star certified building may be as much as 16 percent over the non Energy-star rated property. From a non label standpoint, Quigley’s study shows that a 10 percent decrease in energy consumption results in a value increase of roughly 1 percent, and that’s above the premium demanded by the green labeling  alone. His research shows that the private market does in fact incorporate, whether at the owner or tenant level, energy efficiency, certification, and green practices, into rents and asset values.  

Source: Doing Well By Doing Good? Green Office Buildings.By Piet Eichholtz, Nils Kok, and John M. Quigley, August 2009.