New York City Going Green Thanks to Investors

Steve Schleider is New York City’s only LEED-AP certified commercial real estate appraiser, and he and his Metropolitan Valuation Services company have been stressing the importance of great landscaping even in a concrete jungle.

“I have long been both a proponent of green real estate best practices and in the forefront of valuing green real estate, a complex and relatively new area of appraisal,” Schleider said.

An appraiser’s job is to accurately reflect the thoughts and actions of the real estate market — particularly how the investors think. Investors finance new construction projects, city renovation projects, and make major property purchases.

In the past year, Schleider’s company has seen a substantial increase in the value of commercial buildings boasting green technologies as a key feature. Those in the initial Request for Proposal stage also saw a major appraisal increase.

A great yard with a well-maintained lawn is often a major selling point for a home; it can often increase the value by up to 20%. Commercial buildings, it seems, are seeing a similar trend. As more companies and corporations understand that there are advantages to embracing sustainability, more businesses are stamping “green-friendly” practices on the list of traits their buildings have.

Green property development tends to be viewed as a marketing advantage for companies as well, especially in the financial sector. Bank of America’s building sitting at One Bryant Park is the most sustainable skyscraper in New York. It boasts an LEED Platinum certification and boasts a rainwater catchement and greywater recycling system.

There are many others like the Bank of America building, and the number is growing swiftly, causing a real challenge for appraisers to keep up with the rapidly changing green landscape. These days, appraisers are seeking answers as to why and how we value environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings as an increasing necessity in our urban lives.

As the costs for green construction continue to fall, more companies have decided to opt for an eco-friendly building. Soon the city plans to make buildings safer, healthier, and more energy efficient on a low-cost budget. New York City is well on it’s way to having some of the most rigorous sustainable building laws in the nation as it seeks to cut energy costs for residents and corporations.

At the moment, Vancouver (located on Canada’s west coast) is on it’s way to becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020. The city is already the world leader in producing hydroelectric power, which accounts for 90% of its power supply.

NYC’s Green Codes Task Force has proposed changes that range from energy and water usage to sustainable landscaping and reducing toxicity. All of these new proposals will better help appraisers, lenders, and investors understand the importance of major city going green.

“It is heartening that ‘doing the right thing’ has progressed to doing the wise thing with regard to committing to and investing in sustainability,” said Schleider. “Value-added benefits that contribute to property value, making them more desirable with regard to financing and investment, is a driving force in real estate.”