Studies Confirm Energy Savings of LEED Buildings

Two recently released studies, one by the New Buildings Institute and one by CoStar Group, have validated that third party certified buildings outperform their conventional counterparts across a wide variety of metrics, including energy savings, occupancy rates, sale price and rental rates.

Washington — Two recently released studies, one by the New Buildings Institute and one by CoStar Group, have validated that third party certified buildings outperform their conventional counterparts across a wide variety of metrics, including energy savings, occupancy rates, sale price and rental rates.

In the NBI study, the results indicate that new buildings certified under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification system are, on average, performing 25% to 30% better than non-LEED certified buildings in terms of energy use. The study also demonstrates that there is a correlation between increasing levels of LEED certification and increased energy savings. Gold and Platinum LEED certified buildings have average energy savings approaching 50%.

“The NBI study confirms that newly constructed LEED certified buildings use significantly less energy than their conventional counterparts and that they perform better overall,” said Brendan Owens, the USGBC's vice president for LEED technical development. “The report also underscores that monitoring a building's ongoing operations and maintenance, as required in LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance and Energy Star, is equally important. Buildings are complicated systems, and achieving and maintaining high performance is a process that requires the ongoing discipline and commitment to green practices. LEED and Energy Star provide building owners and operators with valuable structure to maintain high performance and deliver savings over time.”

Buildings that have earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star label use an average of almost 40% less energy than average buildings. According to the CoStar study, LEED buildings also command rent premiums of $11.24 per sq. ft. over their non-LEED peers and have 3.8% higher occupancy. Rental rates in Energy Star buildings represent a $2.38 per sq. ft. premium over comparable non-Energy Star buildings and have 3.6% higher occupancy.

Energy Star buildings also are selling for an average of $61 per sq. ft. more than their peers, while LEED buildings command $171 more per sq. ft.

The group analyzed more than 1,300 LEED certified and Energy Star buildings representing about 351 million sq. ft. in CoStar's commercial property database of roughly 44 billion sq. ft. and assessed those buildings against non-green properties with similar size, location, class, tenancy and year-built characteristics to generate the results.