Going Green!

The next time you are in Chicago, go to the top of the Hancock Building or Sears Tower (we won’t call it Willis) and gaze over the rooftops. Things have changed over the last 10 years. Chicago ranks third among the top greenest commercial real estate cities in the United States.

5759024404_97f55ba96e_m Joe Wolf/flickr/2011

Green rooftops have been appearing with more and more frequency, in large part due to the energy cost savings gained by green initiatives. A study of approximately 300 North American office properties found that buildings with green certifications outperformed their non-green counterparts in net effective rents (higher), rent concessions (lower), occupancy rates (higher), tenant renewal rates (higher), tenant satisfaction scores (higher), and energy consumption (lower). New buildings are being designed green, and old buildings are being retrofitted to achieve cost and energy saving results.

Some incredible features and amenities have been implemented in certain buildings and their administration: when an energy audit showed that staff’s emissions were mostly from transportation, video conferencing and shuttles were offered to employees to reduce driving emissions; a laundry detergent company’s building covered its roof with plants and solar panels to completely power its bank of washers and dryers; and skylights and a rainwater collection system reduced energy use by almost 40% and water use by 67%.

9647603520_1d0747bd8e_m Michael Coghlan/flickr/2013

For REALTORS® this means having to understand things such as LEED certification levels, Energy Star ratings, green leases, and the tools that buildings feature to achieve the description “Green.” NAR offers a GREEN Designation and NAR’s Library has created field guides to help members become familiar with these green concepts, terms, and applications. Check out our Field Guide to Commercial Green Buildings, and Field Guide to Solar & Renewable Energy Features & Tax Credits for facts, definitions, market information, case studies, and other useful resources to educate yourself in Green Buildings!

Keep in touch and informed: Follow Information Services on Twitter (@asknar) and Facebook (NAR Information Services). Contact us next time you have a research project or question toll-free at 800.874.6500, informationservices@realtors.org, Skype narinfoservices, or text AskNAR to 66746.

Abby Creitz

Manager, NAR Library & REALTOR® University Librarian

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  1. Love how buildings are now incorporating the green roof tops. Hopefully this trend stays for a long time.