The better marketing potential of a higher LEED rating encourages companies to construct greener buildings, according to a study by Georgia Tech and Indiana University – Purdue University researchers.
Performance or Marketing Benefits? The Case of LEED Certification, led by Georgia Tech economist Daniel C. Matisoff examined the point scores for 5,238 new construction projects from the LEED database. A facility can earn up to 69 points on the green building scale. The certification system has four categories: basic, silver, gold and platinum. Building with these levels of certification scored at least 26, 33, 39 and 52 points respectively.
Researchers decided that if builders were only interested in the economic benefits of having a greener building, then the distribution of LEED scores would be smooth. If builders were looking to market their building as having met one of the specific LEED levels, however, then there would, presumably, be peaks in the score distribution at points just above each of the certification levels.
The latter proved to be true (see chart). When the team analyzed the results, they determined that 15 to 20 percent of those buildings studied moved up past the next highest score threshold to take advantage of improved marketing opportunities.
In addition to offering green marketing opportunities, building to LEED standards also saves energy, according to a US Green Building Council study published earlier this month that finds that 450 LEED projects had an energy use intensity nearly 31 percent lower than the national median source EUI.
Green building in North America will continue its strong growth in 2014, with the ongoing expansion of commercial real estate construction together with government, university, nonprofit and school construction, Yudelson Associates’ founder, Jerry Yudelson, a LEED Fellow, said in December. This prediction tops Yudelson’s list of major trends likely to affect the green building industry and markets in the US in 2014.