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Despite economy, study reveals greening portfolios remains priority for commercial industry

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Despite a faltering economy, commercial building owners are continuing to allocate funds and resources to green their portfolios. According to the "2008 Green Survey: Existing Buildings," the second annual national survey of the commercial real estate sector, more than 80 percent of respondents have allocated funds to green initiatives this year, while 45 percent said their sustainability investment will increase in 2009. Findings of the study by Incisive Media's Real Estate Forum, BOMA International and the U.S. Green Building Council were recently released by the USGBC.

Other findings included the following: ¥ Energy conservation is the most widely implemented green program in respondent properties, followed by recycling, water conservation and Energy Star product programs.

¥ 60 percent of those polled offer educational programs to assist tenants in implementing green programs, up from 49.4 percent last year.

¥ Almost 70 percent of survey respondents have implemented some type of benchmarking system to monitor energy usage and efficiency, while 80 percent say that their energy efficiency efforts have helped defray rising energy costs.

¥ Almost 65 percent of respondents feel that their green investments have generated a positive ROI, up from 60.8 percent in 2007.

"The survey findings further support the critical role of energy efficiency and sustainability in the existing building market," said BOMA International Chair and Chief Elected Officer Richard D. Purtell, a portfolio manager with Grubb & Ellis Management Services Inc. "The energy and cost savings, coupled with healthy return on investments, are showing that green investment in commercial buildings is a smart business decision in any economic climate.

The survey focused on the application of green methodologies and technologies in existing commercial buildings and on the financial and marketing benefits of these efforts. It was distributed to Incisive Media's national database of ownership, investment and operational entities, as well as to BOMA International's members.

To obtain a copy of the complete survey and results, visit www.globest.com/green.

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