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Brand New Colony: Jamestown Properties Commits to Greening Nearly All $4 Billion Worth of Its U.S. Buildings

In one of their rare turns in the gbNYC spotlight, Jamestown Properties is acquitting itself well. Jamestown recently announced a commitment to do up to $10 million worth of green retrofits on its entire U.S. building portfolio. Given the size of Jamestown’s $4 billion portfolio, that’s a lot of buildings, with such major New York City properties as LEED Gold-hopeful 1250 Broadway and Chelsea Market among them. While Jamestown isn’t doing this out of the goodness of its Multinational Corporate Heart — they’ll make their money back through energy savings and higher rents and sale prices — their choice carries with it a number of heartening potential effects. In the Times, Alison Gregor explains the possible curve-bending effects of Jamestown’s decision to green its fleet.

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Zone Defense: Streetsblog on Greening NYC Zoning

Noah Kazis does a pretty tremendous job limning the gordian knot of issues surrounding New York’s zoning policies and politics, but he paints a favorable picture of the Bloomberg administration’s ultra-ambitious zoning work overall — nearly one-fifth of New York City has been re-zoned since 2002, and generally it has been re-zoned fairly thoughtfully. In the instance of Hudson Yards (pictured), for example, the city’s decision to essentially create a new neighborhood was predicated on the extension of the 7 train. Not all the development has been that wise, of course. “Even while the Bloomberg Administration has zoned for growth to be centered around transit, it has also closed off the possibility of more intensive transit-oriented development,” Kazis writes in part one. “The overall effect is positive, but it could be even better.” It’s a story gbNYC readers already know: this is a very green city, but it’s also one in which some very real green accomplishments are tempered by agencies that sometimes seem to be operating at cross purposes and the hugely powerful (and hugely regressive) influence of Real Estate Mega-Developers.

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How Green Was My Cubicle: What To Make Of Green Work Spaces?

Your author’s career-long journey of itinerant, grousy keyboard-for-hire disillusionment has given me… well, something. I am an excelloent typist, and the Wall Street Journal belatedly gave me an unflattering stipple portrait of my own. Oh, and also: I have compiled, in my mind, something of a treasury of “isn’t work just the worst” quotations from various writers. There are certainly more resonant ones than Don DeLillo’s characteristically terse (if uncharacteristically straightforward) assertion in Underworld that, “capitalism strips the nuances from places.” But look around you, at the office in which you are likely reading this post. The dim cubicles and hissing flourescents and dense industrial carpeting. Dude’s got a point, right? That plain aesthetic fact makes Sunday’s New York Times article about green office spaces that much more interesting a read. For pure voyeurism, it’s hard not to admire the super-green work spaces at TriBeCa’s Green Spaces and Dumbo’s Green Desk. Considering that the office from which I do my posting doesn’t even recycle, it’s virtually impossible for me.

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Number Six Sludge: Now Available in Manhattan’s Greenest Neighborhood, Somehow?

Battery Park City RegattaWell, this is kind of surprising. Last week’s post on the continued use — and impending legislation to curtail said use — of mega-nasty heating sludge Number Six heating oil pinpointed upper Manhattan and the South Bronx as the neighborhoods in which ol’ Number Six was most commonly used. And while that’s still true, the Downtown Express reports that six buildings in Battery Park City, Manhattan’s most ostentatiously green residential neighborhood, are using Number Four or Number Six oil to heat their buildings. This isn’t in violation of BPC’s vaunted green building code (and isn’t mentioned in LEED’s guidelines, either), mostly because it seems like no one really thought about it until recently. Presumably, that’s going to be changing soon.

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