Green Building Adoption Has Been Primarily a Big Building Phenomenon

Study Finds Significant Gap in Number of Large and Small Green Buildings

ACHR News, July 31, 2015. Image credit: Stefan Georgi

62% of large buildings qualify as green, compared to less than 5% of small buildings

Owners of small buildings have an opportunity to differentiate themselves by implementing energy-efficient practices, due to a significant gap between large and small office buildings in achieving green certification, according to a new study by CBRE Group Inc. and Maastricht University.

The 2015 Green Building Adoption Index, a joint project of CBRE and Maastricht, found that 62.1 percent of office buildings in the U.S. greater than 500,000 square feet are considered green — holding either a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star label, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, or both. In contrast, only 4.5 percent of all U.S. office buildings less than 100,000 square feet qualified as green.

The overall results of the study show that the application of green building practices in the 30 largest U.S. cities continues to be significant, but that the growth is slowing. At the end of the fourth quarter of 2014, 13.1 percent of the commercial building stock had an Energy Star label, LEED certification, or both, compared to 13.8 percent at the end of 2013. Measured by size, the amount of certified commercial space decreased from 39.3 percent in 2013 to 38.7 percent at the end of 2014.

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