David Pogue, CBRE: “By making your building better for climate you also make it better for the economy”

Ilario D'Amato
15 February 2016

David Pogue, Global Director of Corporate Responsibility at CBRE

NEW YORK: “We've done a lot of research on this, and what our research finds is that actually green buildings are economically better buildings,” says David PogueGlobal Director of Corporate Responsibility at CBRE – the world’s largest real estate investment manager.

Real estate services are “right at the nexus” of climate issues, since the sector is resource-constrained and can produce high levels of waste and emissions, the CBRE Director says. The global company has evaluated how to move its clients’ buildings toward a more sustainable future: “What we have found consistently is that green buildings actually perform better. So, from our perspective we think that by making your building better for climate, you also make it better for the economy.”

In particular, David Pogue underlines how the European market is more advanced than the rest of the world regarding greener buildings. “They have done some things sooner than the American market has,” he says in the interview. CBRE, as a global company, has been able to learn from its experiences in Europe – particularly in the Netherlands – and is now “bringing them to the United States for green building practices.”


The company has also been very active on green building certification programs such as Energy Star, with hundreds of buildings that it manages certified. The next step for CBRE has been around the United States Green Building Council and the more sophisticated LEED certification. “We created a group that does LEED EB certification for existing building, and we now have certified more than 450 buildings – which is more than 10% of the world total.”

But many differences in the various markets around the world make it difficult to have unique global reporting standards. “In some markets, like the UK, there is really a need to elevate all buildings,” underlines David Pogue. “In the United States there are different kinds of city requirements, and therefore some of our clients meet the requirements of their cities.

“However, in our studies we’ve found that – in particular in the larger US cities – it is now almost impossible to not practice green building practices for a large building or you'll be left behind.”


Separate joint research between CBRE and Maastricht University has also looked at the adoption of green building principles in the US. The study found that in some of the largest US markets, the vast majority of square footage is now technically green commercial – such as Minneapolis with 77%, San Francisco with 67.2%, Chicago with 62.1%, Houston with 54.8% and Atlanta with 54.1%.

But to keep driving the emerging practice, David Pogue underlines the role of business in tackling climate change and the necessity of expertise and networking between companies and policymakers. “We are very appreciative of the work that The Climate Group does broadly, but also specifically pleased with the work that The Climate Group does trying to find business solutions,” he says.

“We are a business, and we’re global. We understand that most of the solutions are going to be coming from companies, in a marketplace environment, to get more traction. The Climate Group are giving us ideas of how to be better and how to speak to our various shareholders about the business attributes of this whole issue.”

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