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(Updated October 2016)

With green building on the hearts and minds of many American businesses and business people, the market for green commercial real estate still finds a place, despite the current economic recession. Read on for the facts and resources for green real estate. (H. Hester, Information & Digitization Specialist)

Source: What is green building?, (YouTube—U.S. Green Building Council, Oct. 16, 2015). 

E - EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page.

“For many CEOs, sustainable buildings have moved far beyond feel-good status. Plainly put, they're just good business. They help control energy costs, protect and enhance brand reputation, demonstrate prudent management to investors and lenders, attract and satisfy tenants and employees, and hedge against future regulation.” (Green Buildings, Canadian Business, Sept. 2011). E


  • 4% of NAR commercial members maintain membership with U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) (NAR 2014 Commercial Member Profile)
  • US Green Building Council estimates that by the year 2015 40-48% of new nonresidential construction will be green, (Green Building Facts, USGBC).
  • Green buildings consume an average of 25% less energy, 11% less water, 34% less in greenhouse gas emissions, and 19% less in maintenance costs (Green Building Facts, USGBC).

Green Real Estate Quiz, (REALTOR® Magazine).

What Is a Gree​n Building​?

Green Building Guiding Principles, (Green Buildings Solutions, Aug. 20, 2016).

Report: Commercial projects leading green building charge, (Proud Green Building, Nov. 21, 2015).

What is Green Building?, (Green Living Ideas, Oct. 30, 2015).

The Impact of Green Buildings on Cognitive Function, (Harvard School of Public Health, Oct. 26, 2015).

The Importance of Commercial Real Estate Sustainability, (NYREJ, May 2013)

Definition of Green Building, (The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 

What is Green Building?, (Green Resource Council). 

Green Building Topic Page, (The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 

Building Green, (The American City & Country, Mar. 2011). E

The Green Building​​s Market

Net Zero Buildings = the Future of the Commercial Market, (Green Building Elements, Sept. 30, 2014).

Real Estate Pros Strive to Explain Building Energy Performance, (Green Biz, Aug. 28, 2014).

Investors Fueling Hike in Green Valuation, (Real Estate Weekly, Aug. 11, 2014).

To Capture Green Value, We Need a Long Perspective, (GreenBuildingAdvisor, Dec. 13, 2011).

The Self-Sufficient Office Building, (New York Times, Nov. 4, 2011).

Green Business: Reducing Carbon Footprint Cuts Costs and Provides Opportunities, (Montana Business Quarterly, Summer 2011). E

Converting Existing ​Buildings to Green

Retrofitting Fever Goes for the Green, (The Boss Magazine, June 30, 2016).

Are Green Retrofits the Future of Construction?, (For Construction Pros Blog, May 18, 2016).

Old Buildings are U.S. Cities’ Biggest Sustainability Challenge, (Harvard Business Review, Jan. 21, 2016).

Retrofitting Buildings to Improve Energy Efficiency, (Alternative Energy Magazine, Apr. 30, 2015).

Alternative Mounting Options for SOLAR, (Buildings, Sept. 2012). E

Insurance cover often falls short for green projects: Evolving liabilities not always covered by available policies, (Business Insurance, Jul. 2012). E

Tax Plan to Turn Old Buildings 'Green' Finds Favor, (New York Times, Sept. 19, 2011).

Office Properties Provide Fertile Ground for Green Retrofits, (National Real Estate Investor, Aug. 8, 2011).

Green Building T​ren​ds & Case Studies

A Crystal Ball for Green Building Trends, (US Glass Magazine, Insights and Inspirations, May 6, 2016).

A Glance at the 2016 World Green Building Trends, (Green Building Education Services, Mar. 15, 2016).

Green Building Adoption Index 2015, (CBRE Group and Maastricht University, June 2015). 

How Green is Overtaking the Commercial Property Market, (US Green Building Council, June 25, 2014).

Green Building Adoption Index 2014, (CBRE Group and Maastricht University, June 2014).

Chicago Ranked as One of the Top 10 U.S. Cities for Green Commercial Real Estate in New Study, (RE Journals, June 24, 2014).

San Francisco Second Most Green Real Estate City in the US, (Globe St., June 25, 2014).

Study: Half of Houston’s Downtown Commercial Projects Considered ‘Green’, (Houston Chronicle, June 25, 2014).

Building a Green Future, (Management Today, May 2011). E

Green Building C​​ertifications

Green Building Certifications, Rating Systems, & Labels, (Green Building Alliance, June 29, 2016).

Sustainable: A look at BOMA 360 certification for buildings, (Finance & Commerce, June 2013).

Natural Resources Defense Council-LEEDS Certification — A list of tips on how to get the LEEDS certification.

U.S. Green Building Council-LEEDS Program — LEEDS is an international recognized green building certification system, which provides a framework for building owners and contractors interested in building or converting commercial buildings into green ones.

One Green Design Fits All: A new program helps businesses get LEED certification for multiple outlets, (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 2010).

Useful ​We​bsites

Penn State Center for Green Roof Research

Commercial Buildings: Green Opportunities for Leased Buildings — This website is part of the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy site. It contains many great tips for lessees of commercial space to go green.

BuildingGreen.com —The website for Environmental Building News features articles from the newsletter, directories, and other resources for builders. Most of the site requires a paid subscription, but many resources are free.

Energy Star - Buildings & Plants—This website is part of the EnergyStar site. This site gives a great introduction to commercial green guidelines and strategies, including strategies for the future.

Environmental Design+Construction Magazine—Includes a searchable archive of articles covering all aspects of green buildings, plus product reviews, case studies, etc.


Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) — Organization representing sustainable building professionals.

U.S. Green Building Council (USBGC) — The USBGC, the leading organization for green building in the U.S., administers the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System®. Their website features information on LEED certification, publications, information on workshops and other events, and more.

World Green Building Council — International organization for green building professionals. Includes a list of links to other national green building councils around the world.

To search the U.S. Green Building Council’s membership community of over 12,000 business, organizations, and government offices that support green design, check out their Organizations Directory.

Green Building​ & Twitter  

Who to follow:

The Green Resource Council: @NARGreen

U.S. Green Building Council: @usgbc

The Environmental Protection Agency's Green Building program: @EPAgreenbldg

The National Association of Home Builders Green Building Program: @NAHBGreen

GreenSource Magazine: @greensourcemag

Popular hashtags:






eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Be a Successful Green Builder (Kindle, Overdrive Audio, Adobe Reader)

Green Buildings A to Z (Overdrive Audio, Adobe Reader)

Green Building Through Integrated Design (Kindle, Overdrive Audio, Adobe Reader)

How to Design and Build a Green Office Building (Kindle, Overdrive Audio, Adobe Reader)

Land Use Law for Sustainable Development (Adobe Reader)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Services at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

The Green Building Revolution, (Washington: Island Press, 2008).

The Philosophy of Sustainable Design: The Future of Architecture, (Kansas City, MO: Ecotone Publishing, 2004).

Green Buildings Pay, (London: Spon Press, 2003).

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Green Homes & Green Mortgages

Field Guide to Green Property Management

Field Guide to Office Property

Field Guide to Green Property Management

Information Services Blog

Have an Idea for a New Field Guide?

Click here to send us your suggestions.

The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.