What Is the Greenest City?

The results of the fourth annual Green Building Adoption Index study by CBRE and Maastricht University have been released. After placing second last year, the Chicago market claimed the top spot with 66 percent of its space qualified as green certified.

San Francisco slipped to second, while Atlanta, Houston, and Minneapolis again claimed spots in the top five in the 2017 report. “Green” office buildings in the U.S. are defined as those that hold either an EPA ENERGY STAR label, U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification or both.

The study found that institutional owners of office buildings continued to pursue green building certifications in the 30 largest U.S. markets. Also, 10.3 percent of all buildings surveyed are Energy Star labeled, while 4.7 percent are LEED certified, both slightly ahead of last year’s totals.

This year’s study also examined the potential impact of municipal energy disclosure regulations on green building adoption rates. Nine of the top 10 cities have implemented benchmarking ordinances, and several of those have experienced measurable increases in green certifications. Cities with benchmarking ordinances have 9 percent more Energy Star and LEED certified buildings, and 21 percent higher Energy Star and LEED certified square footage.

Even though the current federal legislative agenda has shifted the focus away from energy efficiency and sustainability, the momentum in the commercial real estate industry toward improving building operating performance and enhancing building quality is hard to disrupt. This study shows that green building is only growing. Construction companies that keep up with green building techniques will benefit in the long run, as cities continue to become greener.

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