Certified Green Broker: Helping Buyers Find Green Buildings

Certified Green Broker LogoMany of my recent posts have touched upon the theme that the building industry cannot accomplish major advances in sustainability by itself; first its market must change.

But there is ample evidence that consumers are now driving a change in the market. The USGBC website has printed a report by CoStar Group which has found “that sustainable “green” buildings outperform their peer non-green assets in key areas such as occupancy, sale price and rental rates, sometimes by wide margins…. The results indicate a broader demand by property investors and tenants for buildings that have earned either LEED® certification or the Energy Star® label and strengthen the “business case” for green buildings, which proponents have increasingly cast as financially sound investments.” The report goes on to cite “constricted supply” as one reason for the premium prices associated with sustainable buildings, and many other experts have been making the case lately that consumers either cannot find the kind of sustainable housing that they are looking for, or cannot identify what makes a property sustainable.

Fortunately, The Cascadia Region Green Building Council and the Commercial Brokers Association (CBA) are about to provide a bridge between designers and consumers in the form of a new professional certification, Certified Green Broker®. Jason McLennan, CEO of Cascadia, says, “It is often the brokers and finance professionals, not the architects and builders, who directly interface with the end user: the owner, landlord, and/or tenant. Therefore they have great influence on how owners and users may perceive the affordability and overall value of green buildings.”

The goal of the Certified Green Broker® program is to educate brokers and lenders on how to market — and finance — green buildings. The program will offer continuing education opportunities (through both web-based and live seminars) to professionals in the Seattle, Portland and Vancouver areas.

“Sustainability has become a fundamental issue for the bottom line of commercial real estate, which will impact property values, leasing rates and practices and employee/tenant satisfaction,” says Tricia Deering, president and CEO of CBA. “A commercial broker who is familiar with green issues will provide the best service to their clients.”

The unveiling of this initiative will take place on May 22 in Portland, Oregon at the Green Broker 2008 Conference. The conference will cover green issues as they impact the commercial brokerage industry. (To learn more about the conference, or to register, visit: www.cascadiagbc.org/green-broker.)

Photo Credit: Cascadia Region Green Building Council and the Commercial Brokers Association

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