In the good ole’ days (read: early 2000s), real estate professionals couldn’t make it through a conversation, much less an entire day, without the term “green building” coming up. The chatter has subsided a bit in recent years, perhaps causing some to assume green fell by the wayside during the recession and would be slow to come back. On the contrary: Green building fared well during the downturn – in fact, record numbers of green buildings have been built and LEED certified at various levels, with the volume increasing each year. While government properties and schools have made up a big portion of those numbers (approximately 60%), private sector developments have had a respectable showing, indicating that green building is here for the long haul and just may be recession proof.
The U.S. Green Building Council will launch LEED v4, its newest version of the LEED rating system, at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Philadelphia in November. Improvements are intended to make the certification process simpler while encouraging even higher levels of performance and environmental outcomes. To ensure the number of buildings going through the certification process – whether for new construction, existing building or interior designations – does not stall, a two-year transition period will bridge LEED 2009 (the current system) and LEED v4.
Understanding the changes coming with LEED v4 will ensure real estate advisors are equipped to help their clients navigate the new system. The fact is, when deciding to pursue LEED certification for a new or existing building, property developers, owners and users aren’t especially concerned with the process itself. Instead, they are focused on what level of LEED certification is appropriate for their project, as well as the costs and expected return on investment associated with each. It’s a safe bet these inquiries will increase as more green buildings come online.
Ruth N. Darby Director of Research – SW Region 602.952.3837 firstname.lastname@example.org