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Chicago Takes the Lead in LEED Certifications

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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Chicago has officially surpassed San Francisco as the greenest major real estate market in the United States.

CBRE Group Inc. and Maastricht University recently released the National Green Building Adoption Index report, which saw Chicago increase its proportion of green square footage by 6.5 percent, putting it in the lead of LEED or Energy Star certified green office buildings at 66 percent.

© iStock.com / LevKPhoto

Chicago has officially surpassed San Francisco as the greenest major real estate market in the United States.

San Francisco comes in at 61.8 percent while Atlanta (55.1), Houston (53.2) and Minneapolis (50.9) round out the top five.

How Did Chicago Get Greener?

Chicago’s bump to the top of the list was prompted by a few things, Bloomberg reports.

An energy benchmarking ordinance was passed in 2013, which requires the 900 million square feet of commercial buildings to publish their annual energy ratings.

David Pogue, CBRE’s global director of corporate responsibility, told the publication that the peer pressure from things like benchmarking ordinances forces the rate of green buildings to increase.

The buildings have also gotten visibly greener as the city began giving incentives for buildings to add green roofs and expedited permitting for buildings with a sustainable certification.

The buildings with the good energy ratings and sustainable certifications then bring in more money because corporations want their names attached to green building.

"Green buildings are getting the bigger tenants, higher dollars and more investor capital," Pogue said. "Big companies need these spaces because they want to communicate to their employees that they embrace this."

© iStock.com / marchello74

An energy benchmarking ordinance was passed in 2013, which requires the 900 million square feet of commercial buildings to publish their annual energy ratings.

Because of these efforts, Chicago cut its carbon emissions by seven percent from 2010 to 2015 as its population grew by 25,000.

Lastly—and most recently—Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel committed in April to shift all city-owned buildings to 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.

“Chicago is a global clean energy leader, and will continue to make strides in establishing new norms by powering our public buildings with renewable energy,” Emanuel said in a news release.

The city had met the mayor’s last goal, which was to double the number of LEED-certified municipal buildings by 2014. Now, 92 municipally owned facilities have achieved LEED certification, which is the most in the U.S.

“Chicago’s recognition as a green building leader is a testament to Mayor Emanuel’s commitment and passion for sustainability,” said Brian Imus, executive director for the U.S. Green Building Council's Illinois Chapter.

“With the Mayor’s continued leadership, we are looking forward to building on this achievement by implementing green buildings and carbon draw-down strategies that will strengthen the health and livability of every neighborhood in Chicago."

   

Tagged categories: Energy codes; Energy Star; Good Technical Practice; Green building; Greenhouse gas; LEED; North America

Comment from Jesse Melton, (8/23/2017, 10:24 AM)

It's probably unfair, but I can't help envisioning LEED verification teams in Chicago all driving exotic Italian cars and living in Gold Coast duplexes.


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