Green Buildings Weathering a Tough Economy

Despite the troubled economy, commercial building owners retain their commitment to making their properties more environmentally friendly.  Going green saves building owners and users money and makes sound business sense.

“The fact of the matter is this is just good business – making buildings perform better,” said Dan Probst, an energy and sustainable development expert with Jones Lang LaSalle.  “It’s all about making existing buildings perform better.”  Probst was speaking at a seminar sponsored by the Urban Land Institute, the North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors and the Real Estate Council.  “Their shareholders, customers and employees care about it.”

“Today people simply expect it,” said Michael Buckley, a real estate professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, noting a shift in attitudes towards eco-friendly commercial real estate.  “Cost savings is going to drive things.”  Developers recognize that buildings with environmental and energy design built in have a four percent higher average occupancy and offer significant savings on utilities.  Additionally, corporate America has embraced the concept.

Ernst & Young (E&Y), one of the nation’s largest office tenants, is focusing on locating its offices in green buildings.  More than half of the 6,100,000 SF that E&Y occupies in the United States has energy savings ratings, according to Judy Barth Bowles, the accounting giant’s director of real estate services.  “We’ve looked at everything to maximize the dollars we spend,” according to Bowles.  “We are very cognizant of the energy consumption.  Landlords are very interested, and we give them the push.”