With green building on the hearts and minds of many American businesses and business people, the market for green commercial real estate still finds a place, despite the current economic recession. 


NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require the member's nar.realtor login.

“Businesses benefit when buildings are built sustainably – operating costs decrease, payback periods are shorter and asset values can increase. It’s important to note that healthier indoor environments are just as much of a motivator for sustainable building, too.” (Buildings, May 1, 2019)  E


  • Green buildings consume less energy and fewer resources. Standard building practices use and waste millions of tons of materials each year; green building uses fewer resources and minimizes waste (United States Green Building Council, May 24, 2019)
  • Total energy consumption for all commercial buildings in 2012 — 4,241 trillion Btu (Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, United States Energy Information Administration, May 2016)

Sustainability Information from the National Association of REALTORS®

Thirty-eight percent of REALTORS® said buildings with green certifications, such as LEED, Green Globes, or Living Building Challenge, had increased commercial property values. Thirty percent of respondents said buildings with green certifications had no effect on the commercial property value.

REALTORS®& Sustainability Report (National Association of REALTORS®, Apr. 2019, p. 30)

What Is a Gree​n Building​?

How Green Buildings are Essential to Our Well-Being (Blue & Green Tomorrow, Aug. 8, 2019)

5 Key Benefits of Green Buildings on the Environment and Your Lifestyle (Inhabitat, Feb. 21, 2019)

Making Commercial Buildings Sustainable and Green (Nexant, Jan. 30, 2019)

Sustainable Design Considerations for Commercial Buildings (Green Lodging News, Oct. 8, 2018)

What is Green Building? (U.S. Green Building Council, Aug. 6, 2014)

The Green Building​​s Market

Meeting the Demand for Greener Commercial Buildings (Boss Magazine, Jun. 24, 2019)

How Cities are Driving Growth in the Green Roofing Market (ThomasNet, Feb. 12, 2019)

Green Buildings Attract Happy Tenants and Bring Green Earnings to the Commercial Real Estate Industry (CPower Energy Management, May 25, 2018)

Converting Existing ​Buildings to Green

Here's How NYC Is Trying To Shrink Buildings' Big Carbon Footprints (Gothamist, Sep. 19, 2019)

Why Investors are Looking to Retrofitting to Future-Proof Assets (The Investor JLL, Aug. 29, 2019)

No Matter the Property Type, It Pays to Invest in Energy Efficiency (Commercial Property Executive, Jul. 23, 2019)

Are You a Quitter or a Retrofitter? (Urban Green Council, Jun. 26, 2019)

Can New York Make Buildings Super-Efficient, Fast? (Grist, May 6, 2019)

Smart Building Retrofits… What’s Holding You Back? (Facility Executive, Apr. 1, 2019)

Green Building T​ren​ds & Case Studies

New Energy Trends for Green Buildings in 2019 (The Green Building Research Institute, Jul. 24, 2019)

As Mass Timber Takes Off, How Green is This New Building Material? (GreenBiz, May 21, 2019)

Green Buildings (Visit Pittsburgh, Mar. 19, 2019)

5 Green Building Trends for 2019 (Living Building Chronicle, Mar. 14, 2019)

The Bullitt Center (KMC Controls, Oct. 30, 2018)

U.S. Green Building Adoption Index (CBRE & Maastricht University, 2018)

World Green Building Trends 2018 (Dodge Data & Analytics, 2018)

Green Building C​​ertifications

When Office Buildings Go Beyond Green (The New York Times, Apr. 23, 2019)

Green Certifications: What Options Are Available And Why Do They Matter? (Cyclone Energy Group, Mar. 28, 2019)

BOMA 360 Performance Program (Building Owners and Management Association International, 2019)

Green Building Leadership is LEED (U.S. Green Building Council, 2019)

LEED Zero (U.S. Green Building Council, 2019)

Green Commercial Finance

Natixis Introduces Green Weighting Factor (Commercial Property Executive, Sep. 27, 2019)

Real Estate Firms Get (Green) Thumbs Down as They Jump into Climate Bonds (The Real Deal, Sep. 16, 2019)

To Meet Demand for Green Buildings, Developers Get a Leg Up (The New York Times, Aug. 27, 2019)

The Case for a US Federal Green Bank (ClimateWorks Foundation, Jul. 18, 2019)

Freddie Mac Multifamily Green Bond Framework (Freddie Mac, Jun. 6, 2019)

An Overview of Green Finance (National Law Review, Jun. 4, 2019)

Green Bond (Investopedia, Mar. 30, 2019)

Useful ​We​bsites

Penn State Center for Green Roof Research — The Center, the only location in North America with small test green roofs on replicated buildings, characterizes and quantifies the performance of green roofs and promotes their discoveries through education and outreach.

BuildingGreen.com —The website for Environmental Building News features articles from the newsletter, directories, and other resources for builders. Most of the site requires a paid subscription, but many resources are free.

Energy Star - Buildings & Plants—This website is part of the EnergyStar site. This site gives a great introduction to commercial green guidelines and strategies, including strategies for the future.

Greenroofs.com — Diverse professionals find global projects in the international Greenroofs.com Projects Database and products and services in the Greenroofs.com Directory. Architects, landscape architects, government, contractors, building owners and a multitude of other professionals can see who designed these projects and which products are greening their favorite buildings.

U.S. Green Building Council (USBGC) — The USBGC, the leading organization for green building in the U.S., administers the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System®. Their website features information on LEED certification, publications, information on workshops and other events, and more.

To search the U.S. Green Building Council’s membership community of over 12,000 business, organizations, and government offices that support green design, check out their Organizations Directory.

World Green Building Council — International organization for green building professionals. Includes a list of links to other national green building councils around the world.

Green Building Initiative — We recognize that credible and practical green building approaches for commercial and governmental construction are critical in this effort. Responding to the reality that one size does not fit all in sustainable improvements, we sought to create a more tailored approach that takes into account the building’s type, purpose, and occupants.

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Green Building Through Integrated Design (Kindle, eBook)

How to Design and Build a Green Office Building (Kindle, eBook)

Green Buildings A to Z (Audiobook, eBook)

Green Building Through Integrated Design (Kindle, Audiobook, eBook)

How to Design and Build a Green Office Building (Kindle, Audiobook, eBook)

Land Use Law for Sustainable Development (eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Real Estate (Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge, 2018) HD1390 .R684 2018

The Green Building Revolution (Washington: Island Press, 2008)

The Philosophy of Sustainable Design: The Future of Architecture (Kansas City, MO: Ecotone Publishing, 2004)

Green Buildings Pay (London: Spon Press, 2003)

Have an idea for a real estate topic? Send us your suggestions.

The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.


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