SF LEEDing the Way on Green Building Labels
By: Evan Brown
Green is the new black when it comes to boosting property values, and San Francisco is making sure information on environmentally-responsible construction and upgrades is available to everyone, particularly prospective buyers and tenants.
“Green Labels” to Boost Property Values, Economy
San Francisco announced it will become the first city or county in the nation to make LEED certification and other green labels part of the official property record for each home and commercial building that qualifies, a move the city sees as being beneficial to both the environment and the economy.
Assemblymember Phil Ting, a longtime advocate of greening the economy, introduced the idea of green labeling in October 2011 when he was San Francisco Assessor-Recorder, and since then has been working with the city’s Department of the Environment to make it a reality. Ting, who was sworn into the Assembly on December 3, made the announcement alongside Department of the Environment director Melanie Nutter during his final days in the Assessor-Recorder’s office.
Calling it “an important first step in the universal adoption of ecologically-sustainable building practices,” Ting noted that currently over 250 San Francisco properties totaling 63 million square feet of real estate have LEED certifications, Energystar ratings or other related green labels. Nutter noted that green-friendly buildings have “22 percent higher rent values and sell for 10 percent more than comparable buildings.”
San Francisco Ahead of the Green Labeling Curve
With the green labeling initiative, San Francisco continues to be at the lead edge of nationwide trends. According to Forbes, commercial properties qualifying as green “are expected to triple” by 2015, “accounting for $120 billion to $145 billion in new construction and $14 billion to $18 billion” in other projects.
Research cited by Forbes concludes that green construction and retrofitting “is fundamentally altering real estate market dynamics,” and environmental consciousness is becoming one of the key components considered by tenants, developers and capital providers.
The upshot is that San Francisco continues to earn its title of “Greenest City in North America,” while helping its real estate sector earn more green as well.