Over the last few years, much of the motivation for adopting sustainability best practices in real estate was due to the potential cost savings from energy, water and other forms of conservation. Now, consumers also consider non-monetary benefits such as healthier, environmentally-friendly spaces with natural light, greenery, and cleaner surroundings that enhance wellness and productivity. Furthermore, in the case of corporate tenants, the new perception is that green buildings provide a better return on investment.

A recent survey, LEED and the Corporate Built Environment by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) queried Fortune 200 companies on their preferences with regard to green buildings. The results showed that 82 percent of the companies are likely to continue using LEED over the next three years for new construction or retrofit projects.

Out of the surveyed companies, 60 percent believe LEED positively impacts their return on investment (ROI). Seventy percent of the companies said they pursue LEED as a means to save on energy costs. Four in five respondents agreed that LEED is an important way their company communicates sustainability efforts to stakeholders.

With regard to smaller, privately-held companies and nonprofit tenants, another recent study by DTZ, a full-service global leader in commercial property services, revealed that occupants in green certified buildings tend to be more satisfied than those in conventional buildings. The study also found that when green practices lower costs and improve services, the level of tenant satisfaction goes up.

While location and price of a property continue to be the most important factors in tenant retention and faster absorption, but green certifications are increasingly becoming a mainstream factor in tenant decisions. Particularly, in the case of commercial property leasing decisions, a building’s sustainability profile is fast becoming the third important deal maker or breaker.