Sysconverge Architectural Engineering

LEED Can Increase the Resale Value of Commercial Buildings

How does sustainability impact property values and investment decisions in commercial real estate? Could LEED certification be the solution for building owners and developers looking to enhance their properties’ resale value while prioritizing environmental responsibility?

What is LEED?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is an international rating system for a building’s sustainability and efficiency. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) developed the LEED ranking system, and it means more than simply “going green”. It includes an extensive list of criteria — each with its own score. A building’s score for each criterion is then tallied to create the overall rating. From energy efficiency and water conservation to indoor air quality and material selection, LEED provides a comprehensive framework for assessing a building’s environmental impact.

Impact of LEED on Commercial Buildings

For commercial buildings, achieving LEED certification signals a commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability. It demonstrates that the property adheres to stringent green building standards, which resonate positively with environmentally conscious investors, tenants, local government and buyers.

LEED certified commercial buildings often command higher resale values compared to their non-certified counterparts. The certification’s recognition as a symbol of sustainable development enhances a property’s marketability and desirability among investors and tenants seeking environmentally responsible spaces.

Beyond LEED certification, integrating green initiatives into commercial real estate development has become imperative. Business owners and developers are increasingly embracing sustainable building practices, driven by environmental concerns, regulatory requirements, and market demands.

Benefits of a LEED-Certified Building

A LEED accreditation offers numerous benefits that enhance the value of a property in various aspects. These buildings draw in tenants and buyers alike. Some are attracted by the cost savings associated with residing or working in an energy-efficient environment. Others appreciate the use of sustainable materials and practices, ensuring healthier indoor spaces.

One of the key questions stakeholders ask is whether, “A LEED certified building offers a greater resale value than non-LEED certified buildings?” 

According to a study by CoStar and US San Diego, (which was based on CoStar’s US database of 2.8 million real estate properties), green buildings consistently achieve higher occupancy and rental rates, as well as higher sales prices.

According to the USGBC LEED-certified Class A urban office sales generated a 25.3% price per square foot premium over non-certified buildings. In comparison, LEED-certified Class A suburban offices achieved a 40.9% premium over non-certified assets. 

Operations and Maintenance

Green buildings typically use resources more efficiently than other buildings, and because of this, operations and maintenance costs decrease. For example, water, energy, and waste management costs tend to go down. In terms of energy, green buildings achieve these savings by using more efficient lighting, heating, and cooling systems, as well as better insulation. Water savings are achieved by reusing water, using green roofs, rainwater catchments, and more. Plus, in general, green buildings are built with more durable materials and therefore, they don’t require as much maintenance as conventional buildings.

Finally, green buildings tend to lower emissions by reducing the usage of energy and gas. This means a lower impact on the environment, as well as cost savings. 

Greening School Design

With regards to public schools across America, a Capital E Report concluded that greening school design is extremely cost-effective. Green schools cost on average almost 2% more, or $3 more per square foot, than conventional schools. However, the financial benefits of greening schools are about $70 per square foot, more than 20 times as high as the cost of going green. Only a portion of these savings accrue directly to an individual school. Lower energy and water costs, improved teacher retention, and lowered health costs save green schools directly about $12 per square foot, about four times the additional cost of going green, and enough to hire an additional full-time teacher.

Health and Wellness

What is LEED’s impact on health and productivity? A study by Harvard University shows that people who work in green buildings (well-ventilated offices with below-average levels of carbon dioxide and indoor pollutants) have significantly higher cognitive functioning scores. In terms of LEED, the health and productivity benefits are established. LEED’s primary impact on health and productivity include:

  • Improved workplace morale
  • Enhanced productivity 
  • Reduced turnover rates

Green buildings achieve this through better ventilation, improved air quality and acoustics and increased natural light. LEED has a major impact on wellbeing, which means direct and indirect savings and improvements to people’s overall health, performance, and output. Moreover, many value the assurance of high-quality new construction that comes with LEED certification.

Energy Efficiency in LEED Certified Buildings

A “Comparative Case Study of Certified and Non-Certified Green Buildings and Their Response to Climate Change” from the School of Engineering, Design and Built Environment, Western Sydney University provides some clear outcomes.  According to the case study, Green Buildings (GB) produce approximately 15% and up to 22% fewer GHG emissions than the non-GB under present and future climate conditions, respectively.

Conclusion

As the demand for sustainable commercial buildings continues to rise, LEED certification emerges as a key differentiator in the competitive real estate market. Business owners and developers can leverage LEED certified buildings to enhance the value proposition of their properties and attract socially responsible investors and tenants.

LEED certification serves as a catalyst for increasing the resale value of commercial buildings while promoting energy efficiency and environment sustainability. By embracing green initiatives and integrating structural and architectural engineering principles, commercial property owners and developers can unlock the full potential of their investments while contributing to a more sustainable future.


For commercial property owners and developers seeking to enhance the value and sustainability of their buildings, LEED certification offers a proven pathway to success. Contact us to learn more about what is a lead certified building and how LEED certification can elevate your commercial real estate portfolio and drive long-term value creation.

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