JLL: U.S. Commercial Real Estate Sustainability Increases

The United States improved its position in JLL’s Real Estate Environmental Sustainability Index, which measures environmental transparency in 37 countries globally. 

JLL,Chicago, said the two factors drove U.S. commercial real estate’s sustainability improvement: “First, commercial state energy codes in all major U.S. real estate markets now require a minimum energy-efficiency standard for new construction. Second, major markets, such as New York, have mandated that renovation requires compliance with relevant energy codes.” 

JLL’s environmental sustainability index tracks factor including carbon reporting; energy consumption benchmarking; financial performance; green building certification; green lease clauses and minimum energy standards. The U.S. and 16 other countries improved their overall score since the last survey two years ago while 13 remained static and three declined.

France topped JLL’s sustainability index for the first time due to its legislated mandates to transition to a low-carbon economy. Japan moved up because it introduced several new sustainability tools and Dubai improved by introducing mandatory green-building specifications for new constructions of residential, commercial and public buildings in the emirate, JLL said.

Finland, one of the four new entrants along with Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand, moved straight into the top tier alongside more advanced markets such as Singapore and Germany. 

“Environmental performance considerations are becoming more widely established across global markets, but the pace of progress in creating new tools and regulations is slow,” said JLL Head of Global Sustainability Research Franz Jenowein. 

Jenowein said “too many” countries lack clearly defined carbon-reporting frameworks and obligations. “It can only be hoped that the success of the Paris Agreement on climate change, last December in Paris, will stimulate a wider introduction of standardized carbon reporting instruments,” he said.