The Global View

Green offices a win-win for tenants and managers, study finds

Green office buildings are a win-win for both tenants and owner-managers, an ongoing study reports.

Buildings that have been constructed or renovated to meet LEED certification or earn Energy Star ratings from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enjoy both higher value and demand in the marketplace, according to a multi-year study being conducted by the commercial real estate service firm CBRE Group (formerly CB Richard Ellis), the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate and McGraw-Hill Construction.

LEED-certified (the US Green Building Council’s system for rating efficient buildings) office spaces have a 3.1 percent edge over standard buildings in both rental rates and occupancy, the study found over a course of three years. The benefits of green offices are especially strong in mid-sized markets.

Green buildings aren’t good just for owners and managers, though. Tenants in offices where utility use is sub-metered, for example, see energy costs that are 21 percent lower than average. Some 94 percent of tenant managers say employees in green office spaces report higher satisfaction compared to those in “regular” buildings. And nearly one out of five tenants surveyed — 19 percent — said a green building promoted increased productivity.

The study is tracking around 150 CBRE-managed office buildings and more than 2,500 building occupants. The largest and longest running research project of its kind, the study benchmarks and measures green building benefits and resulting economic outcomes as a framework of investment criteria for retrofit activity.

The 2011 findings were made public at this week’s US Green Building Council Greenbuild International Expo and Conference. A full update to the study’s 2011 report, “Do Green Buildings Make Dollars and Sense”? is expected to be released later this year.