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Green Buildings and Sustainable Technology Design and Construction

October 27, 2021

By: Jed E. Ruccio, MIRRIONE SHAUGHNESSY & UITTI, LLC

This article explains the concept of green building, both as a description of a type of building constructed and operated by employing sustainable technology, and as a reference to the design and construction techniques used to construct that building. 

THIS ARTICLE ALSO DESCRIBES HOW YOU MAY OBTAIN a green building designation upon construction of a new building or retrofitting of an existing building, including qualification for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and a federal Energy Star designation. With respect to LEED certification, this article explains the significant changes made by LEED Version 4.1 (v4.1) from the previously commonly used LEED Version 4.0 (v4). This article also discusses the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Document E204-2017, Sustainable Projects Exhibit, which was developed for use on a wide variety of sustainable projects.

Why Green Buildings?

The COVID-19 pandemic and renewed attention on racial justice issues spurred corporations to review their corporate practices and, among other things, focus more on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues. According to the World Economic Forum, real estate is responsible for around 40% of global carbon emissions, so it makes sense that companies should look at the carbon footprint of the buildings they inhabit and own. The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) is the ESG benchmark for real assets. It validates, scores, and benchmarks ESG performance data, providing business intelligence and engagement tools to investors and managers.

Investors use GRESB data and analytical tools to monitor ESG opportunities, risks, and impacts, and engage with investment managers. Businesses are now looking for ways to maximize their ESG performance, and green building and healthy building certifications are especially important because they provide validation that an organization has made good on the ESG principles it espouses. More than 120 institutional and financial investors use GRESB data and benchmarks to monitor their investments, engage with their managers, and make decisions that lead to a more sustainable real asset industry. The 2020 real estate benchmark covers more than 120 property companies, real estate investment trusts, funds, and developers. GRESB represents $5.3 trillion in real asset value.

In addition to achieving a reputation as a socially responsible company, increased productivity, higher retention of employees, and cost savings, tax-advantaged investment opportunities are also factors in the growth of green buildings and tenants seeking green options. Another incentive for adopting green building practices comes from the federal government’s increasing requirements to use green building practices for buildings owned or leased by federal, state, and local government agencies. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR A FREE TRIAL TO GET ACCESS TO THE FULL ARTICLE.