Chicago Is The Greenest City In Green Building Adoption Index For The Third Straight Year, As Green Building Certifications Reach New High Nationally

Inaugural Multifamily Green Building Adoption Index shows trend expanding to new sector, with Denver in the lead
Nov 1, 2019 11:30 AM ET

CBRE news

LOS ANGELES, November 1, 2019 /3BL Media/ - Chicago’s office market was named the greenest in the U.S. for the third year in a row as the green building trend continues to expand in the nation’s largest cities, according to the sixth annual Green Building Adoption Index by CBRE, Maastricht University and the University of Guelph. Researchers found green-certified office space across America’s 30 largest office markets has reached 42.2% up from 41.9% the year before, marking a new high.

At the same time, CBRE also released the inaugural Multifamily Green Building Adoption Index, which shows growth in this sector as well, though starting at a lower level than the office sector. 3.3% of multifamily apartment units in top 30 multifamily markets are green-certified.

Office Index

“Green” office buildings in the U.S. are defined as those that hold either an EPA ENERGY STAR® label, USGBC LEED certification or both. The 2019 Green Building Adoption Index shows that across the 30 largest U.S. office markets, about 4,879 buildings have now been certified as “green,” the highest total in the index’s history.

Chicago took the top spot for the third straight year, with 71.1 percent of its space being green certified. This was a slight increase from the previous year, when the Midwestern city recorded 69.8 percent. Second-place San Francisco made significant ground, increasing from 64 percent to 67.5 this year, marking the largest percentage gain, along with ninth place Seattle, year-over-year. Atlanta maintained the third spot with more than 59 percent of all space green certified, while Minneapolis moved up to the number four spot with 57 percent, passing Los Angeles, which now rounds out the top 5 at 56.6 percent.

“Green building continues to be a growing trend, as both tenants and owners seek the benefits of being associated with these properties,” said Spencer Levy, chairman of Americas Research for CBRE and senior economic advisor. “Long-term, these buildings offer real cost savings, making them appealing to owners and investors alike. These buildings are also more attractive to tenants, as many corporate users seek out these properties for their operational and social benefits. As the market has proven, its popularity only continues to grow.”

Inaugural Multifamily Index

The inaugural multi-family index from CBRE, Maastricht University and the University of Guelph, in partnership with the National Multifamily Housing Council, found that while still in the early stages, green certification is gaining momentum in this sector, with 3.3% of all multifamily apartment units in the top-30 markets now green certified.

Denver took the top spot with 7 percent of the market’s multifamily apartment units certified as “green”, followed by Washington DC/Suburban Maryland with 6.9 percent and Seattle at 6.5 percent.

Dr. Nils Kok, Associate Professor at Maastricht University, said “Tenants and investors are looking for high-quality space, to work and live in, or to allocate capital to. Quality has become synonymous with sustainable, green space, offering superior air quality and lighting, in addition to being efficient in its use of energy, water and other resources. These preferences are now a market reality in the office market, and are starting to take hold in the market for multifamily buildings.”

This is the sixth release of the annual Green Building Adoption Index. Based on a rigorous methodology, the index shows the growth of ENERGY STAR- and LEED-certified space for the 30 largest U.S. office markets, both in aggregate and in individual markets, since 2005. View the study’s findings HERE.

This is the inaugural U.S. Multifamily Green Building Adoption Index. Based on a rigorous methodology, the index shows totals for ENERGY STAR-, LEED-, and National Green Building Standard-certified space for the 30 largest U.S. multifamily markets. View the study’s findings HERE.

About CBRE Group, Inc.

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2018 revenue). The company has more than 90,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate investors and occupiers through approximately 480 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at