SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco is among the 10 U.S. cities with the highest percentage of green commercial space, according to the 2014 Green Building Adoption Index, a joint project of CBRE Group, Inc. and Maastricht University

San Francisco ranked at number 2 on the list with 67.2% of commercial real estate certified as green.  The study also finds that across the U.S., green commercial real estate has increased significantly since 2005.

“The fact that San Francisco places so high in our inaugural study of green building adoption is no surprise,” said Dave Pogue, CBRE’s San Jose-based global director of corporate responsibility and sustainability expert. “The combination of high profile multi- investors, interested corporate occupiers, high regulatory standards and an engaged population made this outcome inevitable. The ‘green revolution’ is over…and green has won.”

Minneapolis ranked as the “greenest” city in the nation, where 77.0% of the commercial real estate space is certified as green. Other cities ranking in the top 10 include:

2.    San Francisco (67.2%)

3.    Chicago (62.1%)

4.    Houston (54.8%)

5.    Atlanta (54.1%)

6.    Los Angeles (49.7%)

7.    Denver (49.3%)

8.    Seattle (46.6%)

9.    Miami (46.0%)

10. Washington D.C. (42.4%)

National findings from the report include:

-          Adoption of all-green standards in the U.S. has increased significantly since 2005. During that time, Energy Star-labeled buildings increased nearly 600%, and the proportion of buildings that are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified increased from less than 0.5% in 2005 to 5.0%, a more than 1,000% increase.

-          Measured by floor area, LEED-certified space now totals 19.4% of the total building stock in the 30 office markets reviewed in the project.

The Green Building Adoption Index is the first project completed under CBRE’s Real Green Research Challenge (RGRC). Launched in September 2012, the RGRC is CBRE’s US$1million commitment to fund leading-edge sustainability research and innovation in commercial real estate.

Led by Nils Kok of Maastricht University of the Netherlands in close collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and CBRE, the study quantifies the dynamics of the growing market for green building space in U.S. markets. The study uses Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star and USGBC LEED statistical data from 2005 through 2013 and includes more than 34,000 buildings (totaling more than 3.5 billion square feet) in the central business districts of the top 30 U.S. markets (by square footage).

“This is the first study to quantify the relevance of green building practices in the commercial real estate market,” said Kok, associate professor in finance and real estate, Maastricht University. “While we all know examples of LEED-certified buildings, the results presented here are facts based on a robust methodology, not anecdotal evidence. The evidence shows that green has become mainstream in all major U.S. cities.”

Through its RGRC, CBRE is also providing funding and organizational support to sustainability projects developed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Stanford University and the EURO Institute of Real Estate Management as well as a joint project developed by Cleveland State University and Central Michigan University.