LEED-ing Benefits for CRE

(top 10 states by number of certified commercial projects)

Source: U.S. Green Building Council


Since the inception of the LEED green building system in 2000, the commercial real estate space has been among its earliest adopters and supporters. It’s easy to see why: Lease-up rates for green buildings typically range to as high as 20 percent above average, while LEED-certified buildings command rent premiums of $11.33 per square foot over non-LEED buildings and have 4.1 percent higher occupancy. Coupled with the competitive differentiation that LEED-building owners and tenants enjoy and the cost effectiveness of LEED buildings, it is clear that LEED certification is a win for all involved.

Given these facts, it is also no surprise that more organizations are interested in securing certification for large portfolios of buildings. Responding to this need, in 2010 the U.S. Green Building Council introduced the LEED Volume Program, which facilitates and streamlines the certification process, reducing costs by using prototype standards and taking advantage of uniformity in building design, construction and management practices. In the commercial real estate space, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, Kilroy Realty and Wells Real Estate Funds are among the participants pursuing multiple certifications.

One very notable LEED Volume participant is Vornado Realty Trust, one of the largest commercial real estate owners and operators in the United States, which recently achieved certification for 30 properties in the Washington, D.C., region. Currently, Vornado owns and operates more than 30 million square feet of property, more than any other owner in the Washington and New York City markets.

The LEED Volume Program is just one of the ways that the USGBC is advancing the LEED system as the new standard in construction and retrofit projects. And even as the new version of LEED (v4, anticipated to launch later this year) will help the system expand into new market verticals such as data centers and healthcare, the USGBC anticipates continued growth and adoption of LEED in the commercial real estate sector.