Friday, May 14, 2010

Does eco-labeling drive office occupancy rates?

Recently the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) published a research paper on the effect of eco-labeling in commercial real estate. Awareness and visibility of environmental standards in building has increased, and so has pressure on and by tenants to make decisions based on environmental criteria. In the paper, the EPA's Energy Star and US Green Building Council's LEED program are analyzed for links between eco-labeling and occupancy rates in the U.S.

...there is some evidence that suggests that eco-labeled offices will have lower vacancy rates than comparable non-labeled offices."

Overall, the results suggest there is an occupancy premium of approximately 8% for LEED-labeled offices, and that this premium exists at most levels of occupancy. For Energy Star label offices, the occupancy rate premium is lower at 3%, with the effect being concentrated in offices of relatively low levels of occupation.

Eco-labeling in Commercial Real Estate Markets, RICS

What do you think? Is there a premium placed on environmentally-friendly office properties? Have you had to choose between eco-labeled office space and non-labeled, and what did you choose? Add your thoughts in the Comments below.

RICS is a prominent worldwide organization for professionals in property, land, construction and related environmental issues. With regional offices on six different continents, the organization calls for its members to "maintain and promote the usefulness of the profession for the public advantage" through providing challenging technical standards for credentialed members, offering training and continuing education opportunities, and advising organizations on best practice standards. Wisconsin Real Estate's BBA and MBA programs were granted accreditation this spring.

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