2017 National Green Building Adoption Index

After placing second last year, the Chicago market claimed the top spot with 66 percent of its space qualified as green certified according to the fourth annual Green Building Adoption Index study by CBRE and Maastricht University. San Francisco slipped to second, while Atlanta, Houston and Minneapolis again claimed spots in the top five in the 2017 report. “Green” office buildings in the U.S. are defined as those that hold either an EPA ENERGY STAR® label, USGBC LEED® certification or both.

The study found that institutional owners of office buildings continued to pursue green building certifications in the 30 largest U.S. markets. 10.3 percent of all buildings surveyed are Energy Star labeled, while 4.7 percent are LEED certified, both slightly ahead of last year’s totals, although the total percentage of certified space fell slightly due to expiration of some certifications.

This year’s study also examined the potential impact of municipal energy disclosure regulations on green building adoption rates. Nine of the top 10 cities have implemented benchmarking ordinances, and several of those have experienced measurable increases in green certifications. Cities with benchmarking ordinances have 9 percent more Energy Star and LEED certified buildings, and 21 percent higher Energy Star and LEED certified square footage.

A feature again this year is a geographic mapping platform that highlights the name, location and details of the specific green certification for each building in all 30 markets.

Again executed in close collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and CBRE Research, this year the report also included research and commentary from the Institute for Market Transformation. This is the fourth release of the annual Green Building Adoption Index. Based on a rigorous methodology, the Index shows the growth of ENERGY STAR- and LEED-certified space for the 30 largest U.S. office markets, both in aggregate and in individual markets, over the previous 10 years.

Download the 2017 National Green Building Adoption Index

2016 National Green Building Adoption Index

Institutional owners of office buildings continued to pursue green building certifications in the 30 largest U.S. markets during 2015. Continuing an upward trend over the past decade, green certifications are now held by 11.8 percent of all surveyed buildings, representing 40.2 percent of all office space. Both figures are slightly above last year’s results, according to the third annual Green Building Adoption Index study by CBRE Group, Inc. and Maastricht University. “Green” office buildings in the U.S. are defined as those that hold either an EPA ENERGY STAR label, USGBC LEED certification or both.

After placing second on the Green Building Adoption Index the two prior years, the San Francisco market claimed the top spot with 73.7 percent of its space qualified as green certified. Chicago claimed the second spot, narrowly trailing the leader at 72.3 percent and Minneapolis fell from the top into third spot at 60.6 percent. Houston, Atlanta and Los Angeles all also achieved more than 50 percent green certification in their office markets.

The overall results of the study do show that the while the uptake of green building practices in the 30 largest U.S. cities continues to be significant, the rate of adoption is slowing. In 2014 the total sq. ft. of green office space in the top 30 markets was 39.3 percent compared to the latest rate of 40.2 percent.

A new feature of the 2015 study is a geographic mapping platform that highlights the name, location and details of the specific green certification for each building in all 30 markets.

Executed in close collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and CBRE Research, this is the third release of the annual Green Building Adoption Index. Based on a rigorous methodology, the Index shows the growth of ENERGY STAR- and LEED-certified space for the 30 largest U.S. office markets, both in aggregate and in individual markets, over the previous 10 years.

Download the 2016 National Green Building Adoption Index

2015 National Green Building Adoption Index

The 2015 Green Building Adoption Index is our second annual comprehensive review of the growth of green building certifications in the 30 largest U.S. office markets. Tracking the growth of both EPA ENERGY STAR and USGBC LEED certifications, this study is the first ever to accurately measure the rise of these important environmental recognitions in the commercial real estate market. The analysis develops both national and individual statistics with supporting narrative examinations of each market, allowing comparisons between marketplaces. Additionally, this year’s study examines building performance by various size categories, providing further analytical detail to this increasingly important market phenomena. The project was accomplished by a research team from Maastricht University, supported by CBRE market research as well as EPA ENERGY STAR and USGBC LEED data.

Download the 2015 National Green Building Adoption Index

2014 National Green Building Adoption Index

Maastricht University’s Green Building Adoption Index is the first study to quantify the relevance of green building practices in the commercial real estate market. Based on EPA ENERGY STAR and USGBC LEED statistical data from 2005 through 2013 the study examines more than 34,000 buildings totaling more than 3.5 billion square feet in the top 30 U.S. markets. The resulting evidence shows that green has become mainstream in the majority of U.S. cities.​​​

Download the 2014 National Green Building Adoption Index

Real Green Research Challenge Winners

Recipients of the ​$1,000,000 Real Green Research Challenge include:

  • Green Building Adoption Index - Maastricht University
  • Green Alpha Index - EURO Institute of Real Estate Management
  • Energy Management Practices and the Implications for Commercial Real Estate - Stanford University
  • Which Sustainability Features do Tenants Really Want, and Which Would They Pay For - Cleveland State/Central Michigan University
  • Engagement Strategies for improving Tenant Energy Management Performance - New York University

These organizations are pursuing significant projects that will better shape our understanding of sustainability in the built environment. Look for periodic outcomes from these industry experts.