Offices Increasingly Interested In Green Building

US Green Building Council Logo. Image source: US Green Building Council.

The findings of a recent international survey about green building initiatives were released earlier this week. In the survey, over 2,200 office users from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, the UK, Spain and Japan were questioned about their thoughts and opinions on how environmental thinking affected their workplace.

The survey was conducted by GE Capital Real Estate and the results are extremely interesting!

On average, over half of the office users questioned in the poll stated that green building initiatives are a high priority when it comes to deciding whether to sign a commercial real estate lease. So how did the countries rank in order of interest levels?

Japan came top of the tables, with 59% stating that green initiatives were a high priority. Canada and Sweden came next, both with 52%. The lowest percentage was the US with 43%. This includes green initiatives such as energy efficiency and water conservation.

The survey also questioned these office users about their opinions on energy certification, including LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BREAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method). Here are the results: 40% of U.S. tenants rate energy certifications as “valuable”; Spain and the UK were both at 46%, and Sweden led the way again with 51%.

LEED is an internationally recognised certificate of green building. Any building wishing to receive certification must reach minimum levels in the following areas: “energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.” (Source)

BREAM has been around much longer (about 20 years) and originated in the UK. The two certification models do have their differences, but are on the whole quite similar. For a full exploration of their various strengths and weaknesses, check out this article. It’s interesting to note that other countries are also developing their own green building certification, such as Greenstar in Australia and CASBEE in Japan.

Michael Rowan, president of global asset management at the company that conducted this survey said that interest in green buildings was growing: “We’ve seen distinct and increasing interest in sustainability across our global tenant base.”

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