A recent report by CoStar found that ENERGY STAR rated buildings, on average, are selling for $61 per square foot more than their peers and LEED certified buildings are selling for $161 dollars more per square foot. Lease rates, according to the same report, are also $2.50 more per square foot in "green" buildings.
Obviously, sustainable buildings are in demand and are selling and leasing for more. Tenant demand is driving building owners and managers to make sustainable retrofits. AND, with office space classification systems based in large part on judgment, a building's rating may no longer hinge just on good location and reputation.
So, what defines class A office space, anyway? ULI characterizes it as a having excellent location and access, able to attract high quality tenants and as being managed professionally.
Seems fairly straight forward, right? Not really. In fact, rental rates and judgment often play a large role in the classification, but as for a commonly accepted defined set of metrics--nothing of the sort exists to my knowledge.
Bottom line: Class A is being redefined and GREEN is now a deciding factor. This is a trend that will not only affect commercial office space, but will inevitably change the way tenants choose industrial and retail space, as well. I suspect owners and operators who do not make the necessary changes --ie retrofitting a building or distribution center with solar panels-- could find their asset(s) on the downward side of a scale that leads to obsolescence.