US sees 1000% more green buildings in 8 years, CBRE reveal

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25 June 2014

NEW YORK: The number of US buildings which meet national energy efficiency and environmental standards has significantly increased since 2005, a new study from CBRE and Maastricht University has found.

CBRE, a valued member of The Climate Group's network, has just released The Green Building Adoption Index, the first project of the property giant’s Real Green Research Challenge.

Drawing on data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Green Building Council (USGBC), the study examines the growth in green practices in the commercial sector between 2005 and 2013.

Over 34,000 buildings in the main corporate districts of the top 30 US markets were analyzed through reference to the EPA’s Energy Star ranking and USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and the results provide unequivocal evidence that building energy efficiency is becoming commonplace.

“We have all seen the rapid growth in the number of green-certified buildings in the markets in which we work; however, we were quite surprised to see how large the numbers actually are. Green is absolutely the new norm,” Dave Pogue, CBRE’s Global Director of Corporate Responsibility, remarked.

The study, which was conducted by Dr. Nils Kok, Associate Professor in Finance and Real Estate at Maastricht University, found Minneapolis was the American leader for commercial green real estate, with San Francisco, Chicago, Houston and Atlanta all scoring highly on the index.

In fact, between 2005 and 2013 the number of US buildings awarded the Energy Star-label increased by close to 600%, while the proportion of buildings that are LEED certified grew by over 1000%, now amounting to 5% of buildings studied.

Dr. Nils Kok, Associate Professor in Finance and Real Estate, Maastricht University emphasized the rigorous and reputable nature of the study: “While we all know examples of LEED-certified buildings, the results presented here are facts based on a robust methodology, not anecdotal evidence. The evidence shows that green has become mainstream in all major US cities.”

Amy Davidsen, Executive Director of The Climate Group North America, observed: “The conclusions of the National Climate Assessment and the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report are exceedingly clear, there is no time to delay when it comes to global warming. In the wake of these assessments the evidence from the CBRE study is particularly encouraging. Building energy efficiency presents an immense opportunity for effective climate action. Not only do energy efficiency measures significantly reduce commercial greenhouse gas emissions, they also guarantee that companies pay less on their utility bills enabling them to funnel more money into their commercial activities. When both the environment and economy benefit, it’s a win-win situation.”

By Alana Ryan

Read The Green Building Adoption Index 

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