Regulations, consumer demands drive cityscape toward green

July 18, 2008
With business after business jumping on the environmental bandwagon and claiming to be "green", consumers are left wondering if the word that once described a color has become a mere advertising and marketing buzzword.

But defining green has been nailed down to a science in the building industry, where codes, audits and certifications make it hard for builders and designers to simply make a claim and advertise it.

Green in the corporate real estate real is driven by more than competitive advantage, says Sue Rogers, principal at CresaPartners. It is also driven by shareholder demands and regulations, which have pushed the time line forward to design work spaces that lessen the negative impact on the environment and create a healthier indoor workplace for employees. The demand for this type of building continues to grow.

“In a recent industry survey by CoreNet Global, 80 percent of corporate executives have begun to incorporate sustainable design in their current construction projects and are looking for ways to incorporate energy-efficient, workplace-friendly design into their existing real estate." Rogers says. “As a result, several trends are being widely seen and will affect corporate real estate in the future. These include the boom to renovate and update existing buildings and leased premises to incorporate sustainable design, choosing locations that offer mobility choices and pedestrian- friendly design and continued introduction of governmental regulations that will further mandate sustainable design." Also changing real estate is the continued development by the U.S. Green Building Council of tougher Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, standards and the inclusion of renewable energy technologies on new developments and existing buildings.

“Given that Houston is home to 10 of the nation's top Fortune 100 companies, and the public declarations supporting sustainable design by BP, Chevron, Hines, Shell, Sysco, Waste Management and others, (as well as a mandate by the City of Houston to make it public facilities LEED certified) we will continue to see an increase in green buildings." Rogers says.