San Francisco Ranked Top Green Building Market Again

For the second year, San Francisco leads the 30 largest office markets for green building opportunities, according to the 2011 Green Building Opportunity Index released this week.

The Green Building Opportunity Index, developed by real estate company Cushman & Wakefield and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s BetterBricks initiative, provides weighted comparisons of top U.S. office markets on the basis of both real estate fundamentals and green development considerations.

As in the inaugural 2010 version, the Index focuses on the primary factors that influence successful development, retrofitting, leasing and sales of investment grade green office buildings in the largest U.S. Central Business Districts.

It compares a market’s relative position to its peers in six categories:

  • Office Market Conditions
  • Investment Outlook
  • Green Adoption & Implementation
  • Local Mandates & Incentives
  • State Energy Initiatives
  • Green Culture

The 2011 Green Building Opportunity Index’s top 10 markets overall were:

  1. San Francisco
  2. Midtown NY
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Midtown South NY
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Boston
  7. Downtown NY
  8. Portland
  9. Seattle
  10. Oakland

"Green and sustainable building initiatives play a large role in solidifying a business district’s rank in the Green Building Index," says Peter Wilcox, Senior Manager, Commercial Sector, NEEA’s BetterBricks. "Seattle’s adoption of the Energy Disclosure Ordinance and Portland’s stimulus-funded Existing Building Renewal of the Edith Green/Wendell Wyatt Federal Building are two examples that demonstrate how changes to either the regulatory scheme or market fundamentals can dramatically change the market viability of green building adoption."

Top cities in Each of 6 categories

Office Market Conditions: assesses current market fundamentals, incorporating a combination of metrics including rent, vacancy, leasing activity and absorption. Top markets: Portland, Midtown South New York and Midtown New York.

Investment Outlook: forecasts future conditions using  Cushman & Wakefield’s methodology, which includes forecasted rent growth, employment growth and incoming supply. Top markets: San Francisco, Midtown South New York and Midtown New York.

Green Adoption & Implementation: total square footage of LEED certified CBD office space, total square footage of ENERGY STAR® CBD office space, number of LEED accredited professionals per capita and more. Top markets: Washington, D. C., Chicago and Denver.

Local Mandates & Incentives: assesses a municipality’s commitment to sustainable building practices, including state, county and city laws; energy incentives and availability of direct funding. Top markets: Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Midtown South New York

State Energy Initiatives: ranks the effectiveness of state energy policies as measured by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). All California cities (San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County and Oakland) received a score of 100.

Green Culture: measures a region’s cultural attitudes and commitment to green and sustainable practices. Data from SustainLane, which ranks a city’s performance in 16 different areas, was analyzed and ranked relative to its influence on commercial real estate. Top markets: San Francisco, Midtown South New York, Midtown New York, Downtown New York (New York City scores tied) and Boston.

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