Two Studies Substantiate Claims of Savings in Green Buildings

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorWashington D.C.–Two recently released studies have confirmed the significance of energy savings in LEED-certified and Energy Star buildings and show that green buildings are financially sound investments. The two studies, one by the New Buildings Institute (NBI) and the other by CoStar Group, a commercial real estate information company, show that, in addition to energy efficiency, these buildings perform better than the average development in terms of occupancy rates, sale prices and rental rates.”LEED and Energy Star provide building owners and operators with valuable structure to maintain high performance and deliver savings over time,” says Brendan Owens, vice president of LEED Technical Development at USGBC.The NBI study, funded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), revealed that LEED-certified buildings perform 25 to 30 percent better in terms of energy use than those not certified. Energy Star buildings use approximately 40 percent less energy and emit 35 percent less carbon than their non-energy-efficient counterparts.The CoStar study, which analyzed over 1,300 LEED-certified and Energy Star buildings and compared them to non-green properties of similar size, location and tenancy, showed that LEED buildings command rent premiums of $11.33 per sq. ft. and have a 4.1 percent higher occupancy rate than average buildings. Rental rates represent a $2.40 per sq. ft. premium and have a 3.6 percent higher occupancy rate than non-Energy Star buildings.The study shows that Energy Star buildings are selling for about $61 per sq. ft. more than their non-energy efficient counterparts, while LEED buildings bring in $171 more per sq. ft. than buildings that are not certified.