NEW REPORT: “The Green Edge – How Commercial Property Investment in Green Infrastructure Creates Value”


Note to Reader:

In December 2013, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a report entitled The Green Edge: How Commercial Property Investment in Green Infrastructure Creates Value, which explores how choosing more sustainable options like green roofs, permeable pavement, tree plantings and the like can be of value in commercial properties.

Key Findings

2Kaid Benfield“A new publication from my colleagues in NRDC’s water program shows how green infrastructure practices – integrating nature strategically into urban environments to control runoff and enhance other environmental values – can help advance the bottom line for the commercial real estate sector.  It is a highly illustrative and well-documented report,” wrote Kaid Benfield on the Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Blog.

Kaid Benfield writes about community, development, and the environment on Switchboard and in the national media.  For more posts, see his blog’s home page.  Please also visit NRDC’s sustainable communities video channels.

Commitment to Healthier, Sustainable Communities

According to the NRDC report, it appears that well-designed green infrastructure is rapidly “becoming a quality benchmark for the private sector,” as can demonstrate “a developer’s commitment to healthier, sustainable communities and place-making, while creating measurable value added for property owners and tenants alike.”

Higher Rents and Property Values

Benefits for commercial property owners include “higher rents and property values, increased retail sales, energy savings, local financial incentives (such as tax credits, rebates, and stormwater fee credits),” as well as “reduced life-cycle and maintenance costs, reduced flood damage, reduced water bills, reduced crime, and improved health and job satisfaction for office employees.”

Reduction in Energy Costs

A major benefit of green infrastructure comes from the reduction in energy costs. For example, a green roof has been found to reduce a roof’s surface temperature and can improve the “operational efficiency of rooftop air conditioning units.”

In addition, green roofs don’t need to be replaced as frequently as conventional roofs (and average fo 40 years versus 20 years), which can can reduce costs during the life-cycle of a structure. The report found that when it comes to green roofs, “[e]mpirical research demonstrates energy savings across climates.”

LEED Certification

Green infrastructure has also been associated with attaining LEED certification, which “has been shown to increase occupancy rates in office buildings and rental rates in residential buildings.”

Sustainable landscaping choices were also found to be of benefit to property owners, as they can add “approximately 7 percent to the average rental rate for office buildings.” Similarly, a “wide range of studies have found that landscaping and trees increase residential property values by 2 to 5 percent.”

To Learn More:

To download the complete report, click on The Green Edge – How Commercial Property Investment in Green Infrastructure Creates Value