NATIONAL REAL ESTATE INVESTOR
(MARCH 22, 2014) Excerpt
When we think of LEED, we typically think in terms of class-A office buildings in the CBDs of our nation’s top-tier cities, such as New York, Los Angeles or Chicago. But what about the vast stock of existing buildings outside of that profile? What are the sustainability options for class-B assets in the outskirts of St. Louis, or an existing multifamily property in Oklahoma City? Where do they fit within the relatively narrow spectrum of potential LEED ratings and programs?
The fact is that LEED certification fails to address our nation’s huge inventory of multifamily buildings. Neither does it allow for many assets that are not class-A or better.
In fact, our research shows that, of the total commercial real estate stock in the United States—roughly 84 billion sq. ft., according to CoStar, not counting specialty, sports and entertainment facilities—LEED certification addresses only 3 percent of the inventory. That essentially excludes something on the order of 81 billion sq. ft. nationwide and renders the program of no relevance to the vast majority of industry practitioners. LEED was and remains groundbreaking. But its scope is narrow and the math is inescapable.