Landmark Study Finds Increased Productivity, Lower Vacancy and Higher Rents in Green Buildings

A new study conducted by the University of San Diego and CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. (CBRE) has found that tenants in green buildings experience fewer sick days and have increased productivity.  Furthermore, researchers determined that green buildings have higher rental rates and lower vacancies.

Overseen by Dr. Norm Miller of the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, the “Do Green Buildings Make Dollars and Sense?” study took a year to complete and is the largest study of its kind to date.  The research was conducted in collaboration with Dave Pogue, CBRE’s national director of sustainability, and Ray Wong, CBRE’s director of Americas research.

The study determined that tenants in green buildings are more productive based on two measures — the average number of tenant sick days and the self-reported productivity change.  Study respondents reported an average of 2.88 fewer sick days in their current green office compared to their previous non-green office.  The research additionally showed that green buildings have 13 percent higher rental rates and 3.5 percent lower vacancy rates than the market.

Pogue comments, “The results of this project are beginning to demonstrate the very real and positive impact of sustainable buildings for both our owners and tenant occupants.  We have been seeking ways to make an empirical case for the economic benefits of sustainable practices and the results of this study exceeded our expectations.”  For its findings, CBRE and the University of San Diego surveyed more than 150 buildings under CBRE management.  Researchers defined a green building as those with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification at any level or those that bear the EPA ENERGY STAR label.