PHILADELPHIA-A pair of “firsts” in the greening of the region’s commercial real estate were recently revealed, as Liberty Property Trust opened what is reportedly the first LEED-registered industrial property in the Lehigh Valley and CB Richard Ellis was the first signer of a pledge to make its Philadelphia operations more sustainable.

Malvern, PA-based Liberty on Wednesday hosted an open house for its new 920,400-sf warehouse and distribution center, part of the 65-acre, 7.3-million-sf Liberty Business Center at 8451 Willard Dr. in Breinigsville, PA. It’s reportedly the first sustainable-design industrial property to open in the region.

According to a news release from Liberty, the design allows for a 30% reduction in water use through the installation of water conservation fixtures such as low flow fixtures and aerators in the faucets. The rooftop heating units are used to increase ventilation in the property, and the facility also includes a solar hot water heating system.

A spokesperson tells that the REIT is locally marketing the green aspects of the Lehigh Valley office and warehouse portfolio through the individual property marketing brochures and availability reports. A billboard on the Route 222 bypass, announcing “the first green warehouse facility available in Liberty Business Center,” will go up next week, the spokesperson says.

“Liberty is also asking all of its existing tenants to recycle and have provided additional dumpsters for this purpose,” the spokesperson says. The REIT claims to have developed the world’s first developer-owned LEED-CS (core and shell) Platinum building in the world, the 76,000-sf 1 Crescent Blvd. in Philadelphia. Its other LEED-certified properties in the Keystone State include the 252,000-sf Plaza at PPL Center in Allentown, the 76,000-sf 420 Delaware Ave. in Ft. Washington, 3701 Corporate Pkwy. in Center Valley and the 110,000-sf 777 Township Line Rd. in Yardley.

The Greater Philadelphia office of CBRE, whose parent company last year committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2010, revealed on Wednesday that it was the first organization to sign the Philadelphia Green Office pledge. The pledge, among the first of its kind, has the goal of persuading every business owner in Philadelphia to start going green, according to a news release. On its website,, the Philadelphia Green Office Pledge group identifies steps that all businesses can take in terms of sourcing, energy use, recycling and transportation, along with a list of resources for information and assistance.

“While there are many fine green initiatives around the country, this is intended as the first green step that every office is able to take, a kind of low barrier to entry,” says Krista Bard, president of the Center City Proprietors Association, in a news release. “Many businesses are not ready or able to fill out all the forms for LEED certification, but they can certainly do the things on this list and start to make a huge difference.”

CCPA is one of eight organizations that banded together to form the Philadelphia Green Office Pledge group. Others include the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, Drinker Biddle & Reath, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, PennFuture, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, PhillyCarShare and the Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia.

At present there are 226,415 sf of LEED-CS and 237,200 sf of LEED-NC (new construction) space in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, according to the US Green Buildings Council. As reported earlier this week on, local market experts say one of the ways in which Liberty’s new Comcast Center will raise the bar for new office development is sustainability. Liberty is seeking LEED Silver certification on the 975-foot tower, now the tallest in Philadelphia; when it’s certified, the Comcast Center will add 1.3-million sf of LEED-CS commercial space to the total.

Chris Major, CBRE’s first “green” commercial real estate broker in Philadelphia, tells that his firm is working with owner clients throughout its global portfolio. “I believe our strong support of environmental sustainability internally creates a great opportunity to develop and share best practices with our clients,” he says. “We have partnered with local organizations like the DVGBC to host educational events, like ‘Green Leasing for Tenants: LEED by Example.’” Major moderated that panel discussion, which was held last week at the Cira Centre.

He notes that large developer-owners like Liberty have been in the green arena for years, “and we are now seeing LEED buildings developed by regional and local developers. It is nearly the new standard for new commercial construction.”

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