6 Commercial Properties Leading the Green Building Revolution

By Published On: April 22, 20226 min read

Earth Day is today! With efforts like global waste cleanup, recycling initiatives and ocean pollution solutions, the world stage is set for buildings to play a role as well.

While Net Zero Carbon homes are becoming a hot topic in the media, what about commercial real estate? That’s where the money really needs to be saved.

The Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy has a Commercial Buildings Integration Program that is improving technology and strategies to reduce the energy consumption of CRE buildings. The program’s target is to, by 2030, reduce 2010 energy use intensity levels by 30%, and zero commercial building-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Commercial buildings across the U.S. account for over 35% of electricity consumption, and roughly 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. Property owners are usually happy to reduce their energy consumption and emissions, lowering expenses, improving the overall experience for the owners and its tenants, and helping the environment.

It isn’t just the construction of buildings, but how they’re used by tenants. According to the American Society of Interior Designer’s latest 2022 Trends Report, over 50% of consumers are willing to change their buying behavior to reduce their carbon footprint and help the environment. The report claims 44% are willing to change the way they live to better the planet. Wellness real estate is outpacing other types of construction. It isn’t just residents, but interior designers, construction teams and developers.

From a construction perspective, while there are green initiatives like LEED, there’s newer, niche versions like the PEER Rating System, which measures and improves the performance of power systems and electricity. The goal of PEER is to encourage sustainable practices in buildings, and solve the problem of aging infrastructure, find cost-saving measures, educate industry professionals on the latest developments, and build for the future — in a way that aims to prevent failure.

To celebrate the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day, here is a list of real estate projects that embody these goals and values.

1. Amazon Fresh

The latest Amazon Fresh grocery store in Seattle is seeking Zero Carbon certification from the International Living Future Institute. The 35,000 square foot space, which is the 26th Amazon Fresh to open across the country, aims to become the world’s first Zero Carbon grocery store. The building could potentially save 185 tons of Co2 every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency carbon calculator.

The products in-store are climate-friendly, according to Amazon, whether it’s vegan meat or natural cleaning products and ethical beauty brands. In a statement, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said: “We are excited to see Amazon bringing healthy food and carbon-conscious grocery shopping to the people of Seattle,” and “The new Amazon Fresh store represents the kind of climate-forward action we hope to see from our business partners in our communities.”

2. Panther National

This gated living community in Palm Beach Gardens is designed by architect Max Strang. The prime focus is wellness for residents in a modern design with a focus on sustainability. The building is partnering with Tesla Energy, the clean energy division of Tesla, which installs photovoltaic solar energy systems and batteries onsite, for power and back-up systems. It’s not just for residential units but the amenities, including the spa, fitness center, tennis center and yoga studio.

3. The Pomona Masonic Lodge

A project between Inland Green Capital and the Los Angeles County Property Assessed Clean Energy Program, this new project in Pomona, CA, is a 15,000 square foot building that is constructing a 20 kW Solar Photovoltaic Array System on its rooftop. This solar panel system allows for the building’s utility costs to be reduced, as well as its electric energy consumption.

4. The Cape on Kiawah

Large houses line a sunny beach.

Image provided by East West Partners

Set on Kiawah Island in South Carolina, this East West Partners property focuses on respecting the surrounding biodiversity. An oceanfront multifamily building on Kiawah Island, on the West Beach community,, this 14-acre property is home to 78 residential units that have been built with local, energy-efficient materials.

White furniture fills a sunny living room.

Image provided by East West Partners

The lifestyle center, the Cape Club, has applied for LEED certification under the LEED for Building Design and Construction. The design team, Cortney Bishop Design, architect Hart Howerton and Trident Construction, have helped create a property that doesn’t disturb the local biodiversity, which includes wildlife across its five parks and 30 miles of walking trails.

“At East West Partners, energy efficiency and environmentally friendly design is incredibly important within all our developments, and especially those here in the Lowcountry,” said Miller Harper, Managing Partner at East West Partners.

A sunny porch looks out onto a beach.

Image provided by East West Partners

“To us, Earth Day is an opportunity to celebrate all that we love about the Lowcountry region we call home; great weather year-round; access to beautiful beaches, rivers and marsh; and stunning landscapes that remind us how lucky we are to live in such an incredible place,” Miller said. “At East West Partners, it’s important that we create places we want to live ourselves, so all of our developments in the Charleston market – The Cape on Kiawah, The Waterfront Daniel Island, The Gadsden, and 71 Wentworth – are designed to authentically capture the spirit of the Lowcountry landscape and what makes this region so special.”

An home is filled with furniture.

Image provided by East West Partners

Miller explained that the Cape on Kiawah is currently pursuing LEED Gold certification for the property, “mainly because of its many sustainable features,” he said. “We will use at least 20 different permanently-installed products sourced from at least five different manufacturers that have Environmental Product Declarations.”

Patio furniture fills a beachfront patio.

Image provided by East West Partners

They also plan to use rainwater management techniques, which includes managing runoff from the developed site using green infrastructure.

A bright interior of a new home.

Image provided by East West Partners

“We are also using native or adapted vegetation in the property landscaping and restoring 30% of all portions of the site to protect and restore the surrounding environment,” he said.

A sunny porch looks out onto wetlands.

Image provided by East West Partners

5. Huntington East Medical Building

Inland Green Capital also funded the PACE improvements for this medical building in Glendora, CA. It’s a 47,000 square foot facility for primary care, and they’ll be updating the building with an energy-efficient HVAC system.

6. Adams Ranch

Inland St. Lucie PACE worked with the Solar and Energy Loan Fund to finance the clean energy improvements of the Adams Ranch in Fort Pierce, FL, a cattle ranch with several properties across Florida. The property spreads across over 200 acres and has undergone the St. Lucie Property Assessed Clean Energy program to inspect and install solar water heaters. It won’t only allow energy savings, but it makes history: It’s the first local property owner in the area to take part in the program in St. Lucie County and will hopefully encourage other property owners to follow. The improvements include HVAC, solar panels, hurricane protection and water mitigation, all of which are energy-saving sustainable improvements.

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