Leading U.S. Markets for Green Commercial Real Estate

Biggest takeaways from the 2014 Green Building Adoption Index:

  1. Minneapolis is the U.S. city with the highest percentage of green commercial space at 77 percent, followed by San Francisco (67.2 percent), Chicago (62.1 percent), Houston (54.8 percent) and Atlanta (54.1 percent).
  2. Since 2005, Energy Star-labeled buildings increased nearly 600 percent, and the proportion of buildings that are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified increased from less than 0.5 percent in 2005 to 5.0 percent – that’s a more than 1,000 percent increase.
  3. Measured by floor area, LEED-certified space now totals 19.4 percent of the total building stock in the 30 office markets reviewed in the joint project of CBRE Group, Inc. and Maastricht University.

The Green Building Adoption Index is the first project completed under CBRE’s Real Green Research Challenge (RGRC), CBRE’s $1 million commitment to fund leading-edge sustainability research and innovation in commercial real estate.

The study quantifies the dynamics of the growing market for green building space in U.S. markets and uses Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star and USGBC LEED statistical data from 2005 through 2013 on more than 34,000 buildings – totaling more than 3.5 billion square feet – in the central business districts of the top 30 U.S. markets.

“This is the first study to quantify the relevance of green building practices in the commercial real estate market,” said Dr. Nils Kok, Associate Professor in Finance and Real Estate, Maastricht University. “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 U.S. cities.”

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