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LOS ANGELES-The CB Richard Ellis Group’s World Conference in Toronto in September has earned a gold level certification for offsetting event emissions, according to Madison, WI-based Leonardo Academy, a nonprofit organization that certifies organizations and events for offsetting emissions from energy use. The CBRE conference, conducted Sept. 5-7 in 2007, is an annual event that brings together more than 3,000 CBRE professionals and clients from more than 25 countries around the world to discuss a wide range of commercial real estate topics and issues.

To qualify for the gold level of certification, the CBRE conference offset more than 200% of its carbon dioxide emissions that affect climate and more than 60% of each of the emissions covered by the program that affect health. The Leonardo Academy’s program to certify the emissions of such events, called “Cleaner and Greener,” addresses the emissions that affect human health and climate.

Michael Arny, president of Leonardo Academy, notes that the academy worked with CBRE to calculate the emissions caused by the event and to gather donations to support offsetting the emissions. For example, the Canadian firm Bull Frog Power donated 59,077 kilowatts of renewable electricity generated by wind power and low-head hydro to help cover the electricity used by the conference center for the event. Basin Electric Power Cooperative, a consumer-owned, regional cooperative based in Bismarck, ND, donated 1.9 million kilowatt hours of green tags, also known as renewable energy certificates, from its waste heat recovery projects located in North Dakota and South Dakota.

The academy certification program also provides for financial donations to purchase offsets. Among the major donors that funded the purchase of emission offsets for the conference were EMC, Energy Advantage, SANZ, Sun Life Assurance,Sustainable Finance Ltd. and Liberty Property Trust.

The offset certification continues a companywide program by CBRE to reduce emissions and go green. The company last year announced a goal to become carbon neutral by 2010 and a plan to assist clients with energy efficiency programs at the 1.7 billion sf of building space the company manages. Also last year, the company launched a plan to enroll 100 of the 1,000 US office buildings that it manages in the US Green Building Council’s portfolio program.

At the World Conference in Toronto, one of the key general session speakers was Rick Fedrizzi, founding chairman of the US Green Building Council. Fedrizzi outlined progress in the green building movement and explained the advantages of constructing LEED-certified projects, ranging from insurance incentives to operating cost reductions, marketing opportunities and brand appreciation.

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