SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco is among the 10 U.S. cities with thehighest percentage of green commercial space, according to the2014 Green Building Adoption Index, a jointproject of CBRE Group, Inc. and MaastrichtUniversity.

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San Francisco ranked at number 2 on the list with67.2% of commercial real estate certified asgreen. The study also finds that across theU.S., green commercial real estate has increasedsignificantly since 2005.

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“The fact that San Francisco places so high in our inauguralstudy of green building adoption is no surprise,” said DavePogue, CBRE's San Jose-based global director of corporateresponsibility and sustainability expert. “The combination of highprofile multi- investors, interested corporate occupiers, highregulatory standards and an engaged population made this outcomeinevitable. The 'green revolution' is over…and green has won.”

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Minneapolis ranked as the “greenest” city in the nation, where77.0% of the commercial real estate space iscertified as green. Other cities ranking in the top 10 include:

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2. San Francisco (67.2%)

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3. Chicago (62.1%)

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4. Houston (54.8%)

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5. Atlanta (54.1%)

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6. Los Angeles (49.7%)

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7. Denver (49.3%)

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8. Seattle (46.6%)

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9. Miami (46.0%)

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10. Washington D.C. (42.4%)

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National findings from the report include:

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- Adoptionof all-green standards in the U.S. has increased significantlysince 2005. During that time, Energy Star-labeledbuildings increased nearly 600%, and theproportion of buildings that are LEED (Leadership in Energy andEnvironmental Design) certified increased from less than 0.5% in2005 to 5.0%, a more than 1,000% increase.

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- Measuredby floor area, LEED-certified space now totals19.4% of the total building stock in the 30 officemarkets reviewed in the project.

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The Green Building Adoption Index is the first project completedunder CBRE's Real Green Research Challenge (RGRC).Launched in September 2012, the RGRC is CBRE's US$1millioncommitment to fund leading-edge sustainability research andinnovation in commercial real estate.

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Led by Nils Kok of Maastricht University of theNetherlands in close collaboration with the U.S. Green BuildingCouncil (USGBC) and CBRE, the study quantifies the dynamics of thegrowing market for green building space in U.S. markets. The studyuses Environmental Protection Agency Energy Starand USGBC LEED statistical data from 2005 through2013 and includes more than 34,000 buildings(totaling more than 3.5 billion square feet) in the centralbusiness districts of the top 30 U.S. markets (by squarefootage).

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“This is the first study to quantify the relevance of greenbuilding practices in the commercial real estate market,” said Kok,associate professor in finance and real estate, MaastrichtUniversity. “While we all know examples of LEED-certifiedbuildings, the results presented here are facts based on a robustmethodology, not anecdotal evidence. The evidence shows that greenhas become mainstream in all major U.S. cities.”

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Through its RGRC, CBRE is also providing funding andorganizational support to sustainability projects developed by theNatural Resources Defense Council, StanfordUniversity and the EURO Institute of Real EstateManagement as well as a joint project developed byCleveland State University and CentralMichigan University.

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David Phillips

David Phillips is a Chicago-based freelance writer and consultant with more than 20 years experience in business and community news. He also has extensive reporting experience in the food manufacturing industry for national trade publications.