Mixed-use project installs 400kW fuel cell
New Haven, Conn. Nonprofit environmental organization Fuel Cells 2000 said Wednesday that Connecticut has just made green history with the installation of a 400 kilowatt fuel cell at 360 State Street, a new 700,000-sq.-ft. mixed-use development in downtown New Haven, Conn.
“360 State is the first large-scale residential installation of a fuel cell in the world,” said Jennifer Gangi, program director for Fuel Cells 2000.
The fuel cell, a renewable power source, will provide combustion-free power to the 500 residential units, common areas and retail spaces within the building. It will meet nearly 100% of the building’s electric needs, as well as provide thermal energy for space heating, domestic hot water and the swimming pool.
The application of the fuel cell at 360 State Street is estimated to reduce the building’s carbon emissions by 790 metric tons annually when compared with the U.S. EPA eGrid emissions factor for non-baseload generation in the New England ISO utility system.
“On-site fuel cell technology represents the future of electricity generation in this country,” said Bruce Becker, president, Becker + Becker, the building’s developer and architect. “Traditionally, large capacity fuel cells are utilized at schools, hospitals, and other energy-intensive facilities but multi-family residential buildings represent a perfect — heretofore uncultivated — opportunity for fuel cell technology because of their ability to continually utilize the fuel cell’s process heat in the form of hot water and space heating demand.”
In addition to the fuel cell, 360 State incorporates a spectrum of energy efficiency measures. The building’s performance will be tracked in real-time and available publicly via a web portal and lobby display, showing electric, natural gas, renewable energy, and water consumption patterns. Utilizing the latest innovations in smart grid technology, tenants will be able to track their own water, electric, and thermal energy usage; they will also be able to participate in a regional demand response program, helping to shed load from the utility grid when it is peaking.
360 State is a certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum Plan, the first in the nation to be recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council in the Pilot Neighborhood Development Program for exemplifying the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green design.
The 360 State Street fuel cell required a large upfront investment by the primary investor in the building, The Multi-Employer Property Trust, a Union Pension fund committed to responsible property investing. The project received a grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund to cover nearly half the cost of the fuel cell unit. This assistance, in addition to the annual energy savings the fuel cell will produce, allow for a payback of 5.5 years.
Avoiding the ‘CAP Trap’
With cutting costs top-of-mind for every retail chain trying to make ends meet in a lingering downturn, the National Retail Tenants Association (NRTA) is using its influence and expertise to address the occupancy side of the retail expense equation.
According to the NRTA, if your retail real estate leases are capped, you may easily fall into the “CAP trap” that can be increasing your occupancy costs. In other words, the fact that your leases are capped may lead your lease auditor to believe you don’t have to worry about them. However, says the NRTA, often the opposite is true.
NRTA member Rick Burke has studied this issue extensively, and will be presenting his review at NRTA’s Annual conference later this year in Anaheim, Calif. Burke, who is president of Lease Administration Solutions, LLC, cautions that leases that have NTE (Not to Exceed) Caps may in fact need more review to determine if a landlord has accurately billed the tenant.
“An NTE Cap should never be confused with a fixed amount or fixed percentage increase,” said Burke. “The NTE Cap can be a source of overcharges to the tenant rather than the protection from an overcharge, which it was initially designed to be.”
This type of cap can come in many different variations depending on how the lease is negotiated. It may be calculated on the base year, or on the prior year. It can be tied to a percentage or an external derivative such as a Consumer Price Index or Porters Wage. The cap may begin on the first year, or in future years. The increase may be cumulative and/or compounded.
“It is important for a lease administrator to read the lease carefully to avoid applying the cap in an incorrect manner,” advised Burke. In fact, he said that there are several scenarios in which a tenant may be at risk of overcharges from them. These include:
- Stated first year with a year-over-year percentage increase;
- Controllable vs. non-controllable expenses; and
- Cumulative and compounded caps.
To learn the specifics of the above examples, and how they can translate into significant overcharges, attend Burke’s session on the subject at the annual NRTA conference in Anaheim, Calif., Sept. 26-29. For more information about attending the conference, visit retailtenants.org.
Walmart’s Gearhart to take on role of corporate secretary
BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores announced that EVP and general counsel Jeff Gearhart is being promoted to assume the additional role of corporate secretary. Gearhart will report to Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke. The company also announced that EVP and corporate secretary Tom Hyde, whose responsibilities include the legal, ethics and global security organizations, will retire from the company after nine years of service. These changes are effective Aug. 1.
Gearhart will continue as general counsel overseeing the legal department, which is responsible for handling all legal matters affecting the company in its domestic and international markets. He will also continue to lead the company’s ethical sourcing program.
“Since joining the company, Jeff has built great credibility as a leader across the organization,” said Duke. “He gives excellent advice and is also known for his collaboration and people management skills. Jeff gets involved in the details of our business and that enables him to make a strong ongoing contribution to our success.”
Gearhart joined Walmart in 2003 and has served as EVP and general counsel since February 2009. Prior to that, he served as SVP and deputy general counsel since December 2007. Before joining Walmart Gearhart spent 14 years in private practice.
Hyde joined Walmart in July 2001 after serving as SVP and general counsel of Raytheon. His responsibilities for the ethics and global security organizations will be assumed by other leaders in the company.