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Los Angeles Jumps to Second in Ranking of Top Cities for Green Building Certifications

8/28/18

The nation’s largest cities are getting even greener, and Los Angeles is among those leading the pack, claiming the number two spot for the number of green-certified buildings with a total of 363 or the equivalent of about 116 msf, according to the fifth annual U.S. Green Building Adoption Index by CBRE and Maastricht University.

Researchers have found green-certified office space across America’s 30 largest metros has reached 41% of market totals – the highest in the index’s history. “Green” office buildings in the U.S. are defined as those that hold either an EPA ENERGY STAR® label, USGBC LEED certification or both.

In terms of total square footage, Los Angeles cracked the top five this year for the first time, claiming fourth position nationally, at 56.3% of space certified. Chicago, San Francisco and Atlanta took the first three spots.

“We continue to see developers, landlords and investors prioritize green certification,” said Lisa Colicchio, senior vice president of CBRE’s Southern California sustainability division. “The city of Los Angeles has already implemented energy saving mandates and is working towards a larger sustainability plan that will further encourage companies to meet green certification standards and reduce their carbon footprint to meet the city’s goals.”

CBRE’s headquarters, located at 400 South Hope Street in Los Angeles, was the first building in the city’s Bunker Hill neighborhood to earn LEED Platinum certification. The property, managed by CBRE, meets the highest national standards for workplace sustainability.

“By achieving the LEED Platinum certification, we have been able to significantly cut costs through reduced energy consumption and enhanced water conservation,” said Debra Greene, director of asset services and general manager at the property. “The building also boasts a superior transit score and provides abundant national light. It really sets a very high standard.”

Additionally, Orange County took spot number twelve in this year’s Green Building Adoption Index, with a total of 215 green certified buildings and 37.4% of space. The Boardwalk in Newport Beach, developed by Trammell Crow Company, is one of the region’s newest stand-out green certified properties. It features a nine-story state-of-the-art building, as well as 5k sf of restaurant and retail space and two acres of open area.

Green Building Certification Influencing Capital Markets CBRE and Maastricht University researchers note that building certification has become a more recognized and important part of a building’s profile. As these programs reach maturity, the capital markets are increasingly incorporating these certificates into loan pricing and alternative financial instruments such as green bonds. And, according to additional research by Green Building Adoption Index co-author Rogier Holtermans, buildings certified by ENERGY STAR and/or LEED have been shown to transact for about 10.1% more than non-green certified buildings. In fact, in 2018, for the first time in the four-year history of CBRE’s Investor Intentions Survey, more investors said sustainability is an important criteria in asset selection than said it was unimportant. This reflects a gradual trend of increasing investor interest in sustainability.

On the lending side, there have been significant advances to integrate green building certification into financing programs, and some lenders, like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, are adapting their rates based on the presence or absence of green building certification. Freddie and Fannie are providing pricing breaks in the range of 10-30bps to multifamily assets that are rated by one of eight different green rating schemes.




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