With vacancy rates in the double digits, developers in Sacramento, and elsewhere, are using sustainability and environmental certifications such as the Energy Star Label and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards as a key marketing tool to attract tenants, reports The Sacramento Bee.
There are nearly 100 commercial and institutional buildings in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Yolo counties that meet either the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star standards or the LEED standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
In addition to attracting green-minded tenants, a 2009 study shows that commercial building owners can reap higher rental premiums for green buildings. Based on a sample of transaction prices for 292 Energy Star and 30 LEED-certified buildings, price premiums were 10 percent and 31 percent, respectively.
Local building owners are implementing sustainable measures that include water-saving devices, fluorescent lights, low-emission carpets, and ‘green’ cleaning products. They are also recycling building materials and purchasing renewable energy credits.
As an example, Doug Bayless, owner of Sacramento’s Bayless Properties, told the newspaper he spent about $1 per square foot to upgrade his 68,000-square-foot office complex to appeal to large, quality tenants. The Exposition Building achieved a LEED gold rating.
About 9,000 U.S. buildings met the Energy Star label last year including 60 buildings with 8.5 million square feet of floor space in Sacramento, Roseville, Folsom, Elk Grove and Woodland, with two U.S. commercial property management giants — Hines and Chicago’s Jones Lang LaSalle — accounting for nearly half of them, according to the newspaper.
In October last year, Jones Lang LaSalle became the first major real estate service firm to enroll 100 percent of its managed property in the Energy Star program.
The EPA, together with American Institute of Architects (AIA), has recognized 75 new commercial building design projects for their energy efficiency under the Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR. These projects represent a 60 percent increase in the number of qualifying projects over last year.
In addition, Energy Star Leaders prevented the emissions of more than 220,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide and saved more than $48 million across their commercial building portfolios in 2009.
Sacramento ranks 16th in the EPA Energy Star building ranking, behind Los Angeles and San Francisco, which ranked No. 1 and No. 3, respectively.
All new office building projects are required to meet LEED silver rankings in both the state of California and the city of Sacramento, reports the newspaper.
In January, California approved the most stringent, environmentally-friendly building code — dubbed CAL Green — in the United States that will apply to new commercial buildings, hospitals, schools, shopping malls and homes.