With an ever increasing number of “green” commercial properties populating the national landscape, many real estate brokers are developing the expertise necessary to discuss the impact of energy efficiency with their clients.

By 2013, McGraw-Hill Construction estimates today’s overall green building market to more than double, reaching between $96 -$140 billion for residential and nonresidential buildings. Booz Allen Hamilton projects that green building will support 7.9 million U.S. jobs, and pump $554 million into the American economy from 2009-2013.

Factors that have been driving the growth of green building include a substantial increase in the level of government incentives, heightened awareness and demand for green construction, and improvements in sustainable materials.

Look for green building growth in education, government, industrial, office, healthcare, hospitality and retail sectors.

To effectively market a green building, brokers can identify how the building’s energy efficient system can benefit a prospective purchaser. If the target market is an owner-occupant for a retail or industrial building, the analysis may include a discounted cash flow analysis of potential electrical cost savings over the expected occupancy of the building. If the target market is an investor in a multi-tenanted office building, the analysis may include the concept that the occupancy rate for these properties can be expected to be higher over time, as prospective tenants would look favorably upon decreased electrical costs.

“Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design” (LEED) is a green building certification program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It provides third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies intended to improve performance in metrics such as energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and the stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) was established by USGBC to provide a series of exams whereby individuals become accredited for their knowledge of the LEED rating system. The two designations are the LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) and the LEED Green Associate (LEED GA) designation. The LEED GA certification helps to demonstrate dedication to building practices in line with green standards, but it does not obligate the holder to have direct involvement in LEED projects. This title could be useful in marketing the green expertise of professionals such as real estate brokers.

-Jonathan Fischer, MAI

Jonathan Fischer, MAI, is a Managing Director in NAI Global’s New York City office and works with investors and financial institutions as a member of NAI’s Special Asset Solutions group.