Volume 43, Issue  6 - June 2008

Energy & Environment

Going for Green Does Make A Difference, New Studies Say 

Two recently released studies, one by the New Buildings Institute (NBI) and one by CoStar Group, have validated what the green building community has known all along: third-party-certified buildings outperform their conventional counterparts across a wide variety of metrics, including energy savings, occupancy rates, sale price and rental rates.

The NBI study indicates that new buildings certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED certification system are, on average, performing 25-30 percent better than non-LEED certified buildings in terms of energy use. The study also demonstrates that there is a correlation between increasing levels of LEED certification and increased energy savings. Gold and Platinum LEED certified buildings have average energy savings approaching 50 percent. Buildings that have earned the Energy Star label use an average of almost 40-percent less energy than average buildings, and emit 35-percent less carbon. But beyond the obvious implications of reduced energy use and reduced carbon emissions, the results from both studies strengthen the “business case” for green buildings as financially sound investments.

The group analyzed more than 1,300 LEED-certified and Energy Star buildings representing about 351 million square feet in CoStar’s commercial property database of roughly 44 billion square feet, and assessed those buildings against non-green properties with similar size, location, class, tenancy and year-built characteristics to generate the results. The NBI study was funded by USGBC with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  www.usgbc.org  

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