Behind the Top 10 List for Green Building Markets: How SF Made No. 1

Behind the Top 10 List for Green Building Markets: How SF Made No. 1

It's always interesting to learn how the leaders in any Top 10 list emerged as the front-runners, especially in the sustainability arena where green rankings abound.

Rankings, spankings and scorecards are usually accompanied by summaries, if not full reports, from ratings organizations on why certain companies, cities or schools made the cut for any given list. Typically, though, readers want to know more, particularly if a favorite of theirs didn't get recognition.

That's not a problem with the compilers of the Green Building Opportunity Index, big believers in transparency who adhere to a more is more philosophy when it comes to data.

The producers of the index, Cushman & Wakefield and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance's BetterBricks initiative, have decided to augment their detailed report on the 2011 Green Building Opportunity Index (PDF), issued last summer, with profiles of some of the 10 top-ranked markets.

Profiles of San Francisco (PDF), which was No. 1, and three other markets in the Top 10 became available this week.

The San Francisco profile, for example, lays out the factors that brought the city to the lead position. Those elements include office market conditions in the city, investment potential, market adoption of LEED and Energy Star and certification under those standards, green building and retrofit policy for commercial property and performance when it comes to state energy initiatives. The profile also looks at green culture in San Francisco -- the state of its green economy, innovation, planning and land use, transit ridership and its walkability.

The other just-released profiles cover Los Angeles (PDF), Washington, D.C., (PDF) and Boston (PDF). Profiles on Midtown New York (PDF) and Seattle (PDF) were available earlier.

Here's a recap of the Top 10 Markets identified by 2011 Green Building Opportunity Index:

  1. San Francisco
  2. Midtown New York
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Midtown South New York
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Boston
  7. Downtown New York
  8. Portland
  9. Seattle
  10. Oakland

San Francisco also landed the top spot in 2010, the inaugural year of the index. However, lest anyone think it was the voice of the disgruntled that prompted release of the profiles, here's what Cushman & Wakefield's green exec said in a news release:

"In response to positive feedback and powerful demand from our clients for a more comprehensive look at green building opportunities in the U.S., we are delighted to present a more intensive analysis of the top ranked cities," said Theddi Wright Chappell, senior managing director and national practice leader of Cushman & Wakefield's U.S. Green Advisory Practice. "To keep pace, our profile reports were designed to function as an important tool for corporate occupiers and investors who need to stay current on the financial and environmental benefits of green building in specific U.S. markets."

More information on the Green Building Opportunity Index is available from the BetterBricks initiative at

Recognition by the index was one of a string of sustainability kudos for San Francisco last year. The city also was named the greenest in North America in a study by conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by Siemens, and it was honored by the World Green Building Council.

Photo of San Francisco via

Editor's Note: Don't miss VERGE DC (March 14-16) convening senior executives and thought leaders at the intersection of technologies and services related to energy, information, buildings, and transportation.