Green Commercial Building Continues to Grow

July 17, 2015

Commercial is still going green. A new survey shows that the amount of LEED-certified commercial buildings has increased in the past year, though overall green growth is slowing.

The 2015 National Green Building Adoption Index, a joint project of CBRE Group Inc. and Maastricht University, examined green building practices in the 30 largest U.S. cities, finding that 13.1 percent of all buildings in these cities at the end of 2014 had an Energy Star label or a LEED certification, compared to 13.2 percent at the end of 2013. Certified commercial real estate square footage also decreased from 39.3 percent in 2013 to 38.7 percent by the end of 2014.

But CBRE reports that even though some buildings decided not to reapply for an Energy Star label in 2014, this doesn't necessarily mean energy practices have changed in previously certified commercial buildings.

The number of LEED-certified commercial buildings increased in the past year from 5.1 percent to 5.3 percent, and square footage increased from 19.4 percent to 20.3 percent.

The index also found that larger buildings are more likely to be certified as "green." For example, 62.3 percent of buildings over 500,000 square feet within the 30 largest U.S. cities are certified compared to 4.5 percent of buildings under 100,000 square feet that are certified.

Minneapolis/St. Paul, San Francisco, and Chicago remain the top three greenest commercial real estate cities. Cities were ranked based on the percentage of green buildings and the percentage of square feet within green buildings.

These are the top 10 greenest commercial real estate cities in the U.S.:

  1. Minneapolis/St. Paul
    Percentage of certified buildings: 28.05
    Percentage of square feet: 70.41
  2. San Francisco
    Percentage of certified buildings: 19.40
    Percentage of square feet: 70.02
  3. Chicago
    Percentage of certified buildings: 19.73
    Percentage of square feet: 63.41
  4. Atlanta
    Percentage of certified buildings: 29.03
    Percentage of square feet: 57.85
  5. Houston
    Percentage of certified buildings: 21.65
    Percentage of square feet: 52.83
  6. Denver
    Percentage of certified buildings: 15.27
    Percentage of square feet: 48.66
  7. Los Angeles
    Percentage of certified buildings: 18.97
    Percentage of square feet: 47.14
  8. Washington, D.C.
    Percentage of certified buildings: 16.14
    Percentage of square feet: 42.31
  9. Miami
    Percentage of certified buildings: 17.54
    Percentage of square feet: 41.59
  10. Seattle
    Percentage of certified buildings: 9.95
    Percentage of square feet: 40.13

Source: "2015 Green Building Adoption Index," CBRE (June 2015)