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.
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%.
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!
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