SAN FRANCISCO-This city tops a list of the 25 largest US office markets in a new study that ranks the cities in terms of opportunities for green building. Other cities ranking in the top five include Oakland, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago,

The study was issued by Cushman & Wakefield in collaboration with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s BetterBricks initiative. The producers of the study call it the Green Building Opportunity Index and say that it is “the first office market assessment tool to provide weighted comparisons of top US office markets on the basis of both real estate fundamentals and green development considerations.”

The index focuses on the primary factors that influence successful development, retrofitting, leasing and sales of investment grade green office buildings in the 25 largest US central business districts. It compares a market’s relative position to its peers in six categories: office market conditions, investment outlook, green adoption and implementation, local mandates and incentives, state energy initiatives and green culture.

The authors of the study note that it follows the US Environmental Protection Agency’s recently released list of the top 25 US cities for energy efficient buildings. Many of the same cities appear on both lists.

The Green Building Opportunity Index differs from the EPA study, however, in that the EPA ranking lists only the number of Energy Star-labeled buildings in each city. Cushman & Wakefield and NEEA’s index ranks each market on dozens of different factors, in addition to the number of Energy Star labeled and LEED-certified buildings.

The index represents “a tool to examine the overall climate for green building,” according to Theddi Wright Chappell, managing director and national practice leader of Cushman & Wakefield’s national green building and sustainability practice. “If it’s not financially sustainable, it’s not sustainable,” Chappell says.

As a practical too, the index “will help a broad spectrum of professionals determine where the favorable conditions exist for green buildings,” the study’s authors say in a prepared statement. They add that investment and pension fund managers and developers can use the study data to consider where to put their money and why. In addition, city policy makers, utility staff and planners can examine the data to understand what new policies and incentives might be useful to accelerate green building activity; building owners, architects and green building consultants can determine where green development brings competitive advantages, or where it is simply an emerging standard, the authors say.

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