Quantcast
Energy
69 percent of Chicago's office space square footage is now green-certified. Marco Verch / CC BY 2.0

Chicago Tops List of Greenest Office Markets

By Hilary Firestone and Olivia Walker

City Energy Project cities once again dominated CBRE's list of greenest U.S. commercial real estate markets. CBRE, the world's largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, released their fourth annual Green Building Adoption Index study in partnership with Maastricht University, examining nationwide commercial building energy use trends and impacts of energy efficiency programs and policies on U.S. building markets.


It then produced a ranked list of the top 30 American commercial real estate markets based on the percentage of the city's office-space square footage that is "certified green," meaning it holds either an EPA ENERGY STAR label or USGBC LEED certification. The study's accompanying map tool returned this year as well, highlighting the names, certification details, and locations of the highest-performing properties in the largest U.S. commercial real estate markets.

CBRE, Inc.

City Energy Project (CEP), a nation-wide effort co-led by NRDC and the Institute for Market Transformation, is devoted to improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings in American cities. CEP supports a suite of policies and programs that lay the groundwork for the kind transformative change measured by CBRE's annual study. The most heavily identified strategy of CEP cities is the passage and implementation of a citywide benchmarking and transparency ordinance.

Benchmarking and transparency, the process of measuring building energy data over time and comparing it to similar buildings, gives owners and operators of large buildings information about their building's energy usage and therefore provides the opportunity to improve on that usage. The impact of that work is being clearly demonstrated by studies like this. Nine out of the top 10 cities on CBRE's list have passed benchmarking ordinances all requiring the use of the EPA's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and cities with benchmarking ordinances have 21 percent more ENERGY STAR and LEED certified square footage than those without.

More than half of the CEP cities are on the list, with Chicago claiming first place as the greenest American office market. Chicago's win is thanks to its rapidly improving building stock; 69 percent of the city's office space square footage is now green-certified, an increase of 3 percent in green-certified space since last year's study was published. This distinction comes in the midst of big sustainability action for the Windy City; just last year Mayor Rahm Emanuel pledged to transition city-operated buildings to a 100 percent renewable energy supply by 2025 and they are doubling down on their benchmarking policy with the Chicago Energy Rating System, requiring buildings to publicly display a localized energy rating. Chicago's rapid improvements thus far foretell success in adopting forward thinking policies for existing buildings.

CBRE 2018 Green Building Adoption IndexCBRE, Inc.

11 other CEP cities were included in the report, with Atlanta, Los Angeles, Saint Paul, Houston and Denver all falling in the top 10. While these cities ranked in the top 10 of last year's report as well, all have maintained or improved on their performance since then, with ambitious voluntary challenge programs and benchmarking policies as their tools for success. Notably, Los Angeles' percentage of green square footage increased by over seven percent, causing its ranking to bump up two spots, while Atlanta also gained four percent in green square-footage from the previous year's report. Both Los Angeles and Atlanta have benchmarking and energy audit requirements, so it will be interesting to see the impact of those policies on the uptake of green certifications in the coming years.

As we propel toward the launch of the American Cities Climate Challenge, a new project co-led by NRDC and Delivery Associates and funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies designed to help American cities reach their climate goals, reports like this will be excellent indicators of policy-driven market transformation.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Animals
A North Carolina concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO, on Sept.18, 2018, Larry Baldwin / Crystal Coast Waterkeeper.

3.4 Million Chickens, 5,500 Hogs Killed in Florence's Flooding

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that the historic flooding from Florence has killed about 3.4 million chickens and turkeys and 5,500 hogs.

"This was an unprecedented storm with flooding expected to exceed that from any other storms in recent memory. We know agricultural losses will be significant because the flooding has affected the top six agricultural counties in our state," said agriculture commissioner Steve Troxler in a press release.

The footprint of flooding from this storm covers much of the same area hit by flooding from Hurricane Matthew in 2016, which only worsens the burden on these farmers.
Keep reading... Show less
Food
Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

Are Plant-Eaters Smarter and More Empathetic Than Meat-Eaters?

By Matthew Ponsford

Human, monkey, pig.

Wrapped inside the giant magnetic coil of an magnetic imaging resonance (MRI) scanner, three silent animal videos flash up and then disappear in front of a test subject's eyes.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
One Meal a Day for the Planet / Center for Biological Diversity

National Day of Action Asks Applebee's for Plant-Based Menu Options

One Meal a Day for the Planet and the Center for Biological Diversity Tuesday hosted events at Applebee's locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Clearwater, Florida to ask the restaurant to add at least one plant-based entrée to all of its menus nationwide.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Scott Olson / Getty Images News / Getty Images

Duke University Study: N.C. Residents Living Near Large Hog Farms Have Elevated Disease, Death Risks

By Olga Naidenko and Sydney Evans

Residents of communities near industrial-scale hog farms in North Carolina face an increased risk of potentially deadly diseases, Duke University scientists reported in a study released this week.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals
Mosquito larvae can mistake tiny bits of plastic for food. fuentedelateja / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Mosquitoes Could Spread Microplastics, Study Suggests

Microplastics, which get gobbled up by whales, deep-sea fish and plankton, have also turned up in the bodies of mosquitoes, scientists have revealed.

The research, published Wednesday in the journal Biology Letters, is the first to show that bits of plastic can be transferred between a mosquito's life stages that use different habitats.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Pipe being transported to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Photo credit: Mark Levisay / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Work Restarts as Opponents Decry 'Rushed Decisions'

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled Monday that work could resume on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which opponents call "unnecessary and a boondoggle," the Charlotte Business Journal reported.

Work on the controversial pipeline halted last month after a federal appeals court vacated two permits required for the project to complete its 600 mile route from West Virginia, through Virginia, to North Carolina.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Business
zodebala / iStock

Investigators Find Slave Labor on Starbucks-Certified Brazil Coffee Plantation

By Daniela Penha and Roberto Cataldo, Translator

This story was produced via a co-publishing partnership between Mongabay and Repórter Brasil and can be read in Portuguese here.

At first sight, the Córrego das Almas farm in Piumhi, in rural Minas Gerais state, seems to be a model property. "No slave or forced labor is allowed," reads one of several signs that display international certifications—including one linked to the U.S. based company Starbucks corporation.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Oil and gas companies flare natural gas that cannot be processed or sold. Varodrig / Wikimedia Commons

Trump Lets Fracking Companies Release More Climate-Warming Methane

As expected, the U.S. Department of the Interior on Tuesday released a final rule that reverses Obama-era restrictions on methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

President Obama's 2016 methane waste rule, which never went into effect, required fossil fuel companies on tribal and public lands to reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that's about 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. It called on drilling operators to capture leaking and vented methane and to update their leak-detection equipment.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!