West Coast Tops in Green Building

San Francisco's most green buildingHere's a question you might be pondering: why does one market tend to have more LEED-certified (green, that is) buildings than another?

Actually, I was thinking about that this week as I'm in Portland, Oregon checking out design and sustainability projects, and you can't get through a rain-soaked day without being impressed with this self-proclaimed green capital's green commitment. Consider, for example, the Oregon Sustainability Center, a $100-million project to design and build the world's most sustainable large-scale building in the world.

So it came as some surprise to learn that goody-goody green San Francisco had snagged the number one spot on the Green Building Opportunity Index - a study that ranks top U.S. office markets on the basis of real estate fundamentals and green development considerations - while Portland pulled in at a measly 12th.
The index - by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance's BetterBricks initiative and real estate company Cushman & Wakefield, is a very serious look at the primary factors that influence development, retrofitting, leasing and sales of investment grade green office buildings.

These include everything from investment outlook to "green culture" - a city's green attitude and dedication to all things green. That's where Portland quite rightly was ranked 2nd but lost out on office market conditions and investment outlook, which of course, doesn't dovetail much with green and sustainable.

After San Francisco came Oakland and midtown Manhattan (who knew?), followed by L.A., Chicago and Orange County, and then downtown N.Y. You can see all the details on the Green Building Opportunity Index and its analysis. But more importantly city planners, policy makers, architects, and building owners can see the results and use it as a tool to make progressive changes in their own green building activity.

Take it all with an ounce of grey water. All cities want to be green these days and the green marketing push is in full swing now to include commercial buildings - but as usual, what green means is often in the eye of the beholder.
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