NEW BRIEFS: Booming Vegas feels lending thud... New Olympic Stadium tops list of country’s favorite landmarks... Abu Dhabi commits $15 billion to clean, alternative energy

February 01, 2008 |

Booming Vegas feels lending thud. The credit crunch that roared through the residential real estate market is starting to bite commercial projects. Ian Bruce Eichner, developer of the Cosmopolitan Resort Casino in the heart of Las Vegas, has defaulted on a $760 million loan from Deutsche Bank after he failed to get refinancing. Owners and developers of some of the country’s other choicest properties also are having trouble refinancing shorter-term loans.

New Olympic Stadium tops list of country’s favorite landmarks. China’s National Stadium leads the ranking of Beijing’s new landmarks. The stadium, known affectionately as the “Bird’s Nest,” will be the main venue for the 2008 Olympic Games. It garnered 52,671 votes out of 72,841 ballots cast in a poll organized by the Beijing News. Beijing West Railway Station, known for its Chinese traditional style, came in second, with the egg-shaped National Theater ranked third.

Abu Dhabi commits $15 billion to clean, alternative energy. At the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the wealthy emirate announced the most ambitious sustainability program ever launched by a government—an initial investment of $15 billion in projects targeting alternative energy (solar, wind, and hydrogen), carbon reduction, sustainable development, education, and R&D.

ASHRAE bumps up roof and wall R-value for first time in 19 years.For the first time in nearly two decades, ASHRAE has increased the minimum required prescriptive R-value (resistance to heat flow) in ASHRAE Standard 90.1 to R-20 for above-deck roof insulation, from the current R-15 level—a 33% increase. Similar increases were approved for walls.

Calatrava’s Chicago Spire opens sales for condos costing up to $15 million.After a four-month delay, Shelbourne Development Ltd., Dublin, Ireland, has started selling the 1,194 super-luxury units it plans to build in a twisting 2,000-foot-tall tower designed by architect Santiago Calatrava on Chicago’s lakefront. If built, the Spire would be the world’s tallest residential tower. Condo prices will reach $1,400 a sf or more, with top-level units at $15 million.

Independent group takes over LEED Accredited Professional certification.The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED professional accreditation program has verified more than 43,000 building professionals to date in the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green rating system. Now, LEED AP credentialing will be administered by the independent Green Building Certification Institute.

Delta Institute launches retail carbon credit website.The Delta Institute has launched a website,, where individuals and organizations can measure their annual greenhouse gas emissions, learn about ways to reduce their impact, and offset their carbon footprint through the purchase of carbon credits certified by the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX).

Dutch company harnesses heat from asphalt for building operations.The heat recovery system was designed by the civil engineering firm Ooms Avenhorn Holding BV of the Netherlands, and collects heat from a 200-yard stretch of road and a small parking lot to help heat a 70-unit four-story apartment building in the northern village of Avenhorn.

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