<i>FORTUNE</i> Highlights Corporate Green-Building Achievements

<i>FORTUNE</i> Highlights Corporate Green-Building Achievements

I>FORTUNE magazine's March 20 issue, currently on newsstands and viewable online, includes a special advertising feature outlining how green building practices are proving an important component of improved corporate performance. Titled "Building a Greener Future" the article details the green-building efforts of major companies, from manufacturing giants such as Ford and GM to financial powerhouses such as Bank of America to technology superstars such as Adobe.

"We're finding strong traction in the owner community -- both public and private -- because of the pure financial gains that accompany a decision to build a green building," says Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council, who spearheaded the section. "Green buildings provide operational performance, environmental sensitivity and improved health for their occupants. It's a triple bottom line great companies can relate to."

"We can safely say that green buildings are no longer a fad, but rather an increasingly important new way of doing business," said Harvey Bernstein, Vice President, Industry Analytics and Alliances, for McGraw Hill Construction. The McGraw-Hill Smart Market report, released in November 2005, noted that green buildings comprise about 2% of the new nonresidential construction market, and that by 2010 that figure will rise to between 5% and 10%.

Driving that growth are the 8%-9% decrease in overall building operating costs, increase in building values of about 7.5%, occupancy ratios that are about 3.5% higher, rent ratios that are anticipated to be about 3% higher, and an overall ROI improvement of about 6.6%. Today more than a half-billion square feet of commercial space has been certified as green through the USGBC's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System, a voluntary third-party rating system where building projects earn credits for satisfying specified green building criteria.

The special advertising feature in FORTUNE, the second in 18 months, is one of the many ways the U.S. Green Building Council is aggressively seeking to educate the broader market about the importance of green building practices. As the nation’s leading coalition of corporations, builders, universities, federal and local agencies, and nonprofit organizations working together to promote high-performance green buildings, the organization is enjoying tremendous momentum.

Part of the reason is the consensus-based rating system it developed six years ago, and that has become the de facto standard for judging a building’s "greenness." To obtain LEED certification, projects are evaluated within five environmental categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels of green building certification are awarded based on the total credits earned. The LEED standard has been adopted nationwide by Federal agencies, state and local governments, and interested private companies as the industry standard of measurement for green building.

Another key program is its annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, which attracts thousands annually who are interested in learning about green buildings through a rich series of educational tracks, and who are interested in seeing the latest in green building products and services on the expo floor. Greenbuild 2006 will be held November 15-17 in Denver, Color.

"Green building isn’t the wave of the future," said Fedrizzi. "It’s the reality of the present. The question is no longer why build green; the question is why wouldn’t you?"