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Massachusetts “LEEDs” the Way

By on February 19, 2013

In 2007, when I became a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional, many wondered if the green building movement was going to end up as more than a passing trend.  It is clear now that green construction principles are here to stay and are increasingly becoming the norm.  As the cost premiums for building green have declined, the viability of sustainable construction methods has been validated and the market demand for green buildings has increased we are seeing more construction projects seeking LEED certification and Massachusetts leads the way on that front.

At the end of January 2013, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its annual list of the top ten states (including the District of Columbia) for new LEED certifications for 2012.  Massachusetts moved up 3 positions from 2011 to a 4th place ranking behind the District of Columbia, Virginia and Colorado.  According to the USGBC, in 2012, 106 projects in Massachusetts (totaling just under 13.4 million square feet of space) obtained LEED certification.  While many of the LEED certifications in Massachusetts last year, and historically, were obtained in connection with public building projects (not surprising, given the governmental requirements that certain projects obtain specified levels of certification), the number of private development projects seeking certification is on the rise (literally).  The year 2012 saw the first LEED Platinum skyscraper in Boston at Atlantic Wharf.  As costs to build green continue to drop and consumer demand for green buildings continues to increase we can expect the number of private development LEED projects to continue to rise.

According to The Boston Business Journal (BBJ), as of mid-February 2013, there were 479 projects in Massachusetts pending LEED certification.  The BBJ also culled additional interesting figures from the USGBC detailing the variety of Massachusetts projects – some of which are noted below:

  • 11: The number of LEED-certified properties owned by privately held companies
  • 12: The number of LEED certified properties at non-profit companies
  • 12: The number of LEED certified projects at Harvard University, including 3 Platinum and 2 Gold certified properties
  • 13: The number of LEED certified properties in Boston
  • 17: The number of LEED certified properties in Cambridge, the most of any municipality in the state
  • 19: The number of construction projects which will  ultimately house local or state government offices that applied for LEED certification last year.
  • 19: The number of private construction projects that applied for LEED certification
  • 22: The number of LEED certified properties owned by publicly traded companies
  • 29: The number of construction projects in Massachusetts that applied for LEED certification and are managed by educational institutions
  • 1.17 million: The square footage of One International Place in Boston, the third-largest LEED-certified property in Massachusetts last year
  • 1.18 million: The square footage of Atlantic Wharf in Boston, the second-largest LEED-certified property in Massachusetts in 2012
  • 1.6 million: The square footage of the Clarendon and Berkeley Buildings in Boston, the largest LEED-certified property in Massachusetts
  • 19.8 million: The total square footage of the projects that applied for LEED certification in Massachusetts in 2012
  • 80.8 million: The square footage of pending LEED-certified development projects in Massachusetts (Source: Green state: Massachusetts’ huge pipeline of LEED construction projects (BBJ DataCenter))

Clearly, LEED-certified buildings are here to stay!