The New York Times | Office Buildings Go Beyond Green

By Joe Gose, The New York Times

Click here to read the full article in The New York Times.

Developers and landlords have for decades sought green certification to help them attain a level of sustainability that can make their buildings more efficient, and cheaper, to maintain in the long run.

One of the best-known certification programs is run by the United States Green Building Council, which began rating the sustainability of buildings in the 1990s through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, or LEED. The program rates buildings on how their design and systems affect energy and water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions and other “green” performance measures. 

As technology companies drive a greater share of office leasing in the United States, a growing number of landlords are turning to WiredScore to validate the technological proficiency within their buildings. The company, based in New York, grades the digital infrastructure in buildings in several categories, including its ability to provide uninterrupted internet connectivity throughout the building and its capacity to integrate future technologies.

For most of the internet era, office tenants were largely responsible for their own digital connectivity, said Arie Barendrecht, chief executive and founder of WiredScore. But he saw an opportunity to borrow the LEED certification template and apply it to technology, particularly as progressive landlords grasped the benefits of providing a strong digital foundation.

So far, the decision to pursue a wired rating appears to be paying off. Rental rates for WiredScore office buildings in Manhattan, for example, increase an average of nearly 7 percent with each level of certification, according to a study by CoStar, a commercial property research firm.

Because the highest WiredScore certification levels require building owners to bring in two or more high-speed internet providers, tenants can typically get any speed they require if they’re willing to pay for it, Mr. Barendrecht said.

Some office developers are taking the independent route, however. About two years ago, Carter, a developer based in Atlanta, finished an extensive renovation of 715 Peachtree, a 10-story office building in the city’s Midtown neighborhood near the Georgia Institute of Technology. Carter beefed up the digital infrastructure in the 1970s-era building and brought in other amenities, including a rock climbing gym, restaurants, and a lobby cafe and bar. The property is 95 percent occupied, according to the company.

“Honestly, we didn’t think about any certifications,” said David Nelson, executive vice president for Carter. “But we may have done a lot of things in the building that those scores represent.”

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By Joe Gose, The New York Times

Click here to read the full article in The New York Times.

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