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Green Building for Commercial Owners#

A common assumption is that benefits of green building lie primarily in the energy and water savings, but there are many other potential benefits (see below). Green building, both for new construction and existing remodels and renovations can benefit many, if not most, commercial structures. Many of these benefits can often be achieved with only a marginal, if any, increase in upfront costs. If you are considering new construction or a major renovation, let the City help guide you on your green building path.

Attraction and Retention of Staff and Tenants:

  • Improved reputation/branding
  • Increased comfort and well-being of staff and tenants
  • Higher employee loyalty
  • Recruiting advantages
  • Reduced costs of changing space for different user needs
  • Fewer tenant/occupant complaints
  • Reduced illness and sick days (staff / tenants)
  • Reduced tenant turnover

Operational Benefits:

  • Reduced operation costs
  • Downsizing of mechanical/ plumbing/ electrical/ structural systems
  • Reduced callbacks/ change orders
  • Reduced construction risk
  • More reliable systems
  • Reduced risk of building not operating as designed

Financial Benefits:

  • Increased property valuations
  • Increased demand from tenants / businesses seeking sustainability image/marketing
  • Better ability to meet future regulatory requirements
  • Limit exposure to utility cost volatility
  • Reduced exit/take-out risk
  • Reduced risk that the building will lose value due to functional, economic, or physical obsolescence
  • Improved access to debt financing
  • Lower property/casualty insurance costs


A successful green building project begins with integrated design. Integrated design takes the conventional building design process and promotes collaboration of all the stakeholders (architects, MEP engineers, contractors, facilities mangers, owner, etc.) from the beginning of design. All the stakeholders work as a team from the outset to ensure that every factor of the building – mechanical and electrical systems, building occupants, climate, cost, and so on – work together in a smooth and efficient manner. Integrated design sometimes costs more at the start, but frequently recoups those costs through better performing systems, smoother constructions processes, reduced call backs, lower maintenance costs, and much more.

If you would like to pursue integrated design, please contact the City’s Integrated Design Assistance Program (IDAP). IDAP includes design and construction incentives, technical support, and an optional performance incentive. Please also see the events listing for training sessions and lectures on green building best practices.

Best Practices#

Below are resources for common best practices in commercial building:

National Institute of Building Sciences – See monthly newsletter and bi-monthly journal

Building Enclosure Council – Colorado – A collaboration between Colorado AIA and the Building Enclosure Technology and Environment Council. Monthly educational lunch meetings and an annual half-day seminar.

Air Barrier Association of America – National not-for-profit trade organization

National Renewable Energy Laboratory – Buildings Program – Resources, including Advanced Energy Design Guides, software, information and programs


Green building incentives are currently being researched and considered. Please check back at a later date.

Case Studies#

Do you own or are you building a green commercial project and want to participate as a case study? Let us know. Case studies allow builders and owners to share lessons learned and increase the visibility of their project while demonstrating sustainability and management leadership. Case studies must be pursuing a known green certification such as LEED, Living Building Challenge, or WELL Building. Contact the Green Building Program for more information.

High-Performance Leasing#

When it is time to review operating costs and capital expenditures for the year, you can achieve some considerable savings into the future by considering energy efficient equipment and upgrades at the time your old equipment requires replacement.  Your tenants have an interest in energy efficient lease space and, through their savings in utility costs, can help share the expense of the needed upgrades.  High-performance leasing, also known as efficiency leasing or green leasing in which energy saving and sustainability provisions are written into the lease, provides tools for owners, property managers, facilities managers and tenants to share energy use data and best practices to increase the performance of the leased space.  As more tenants demand healthier work spaces, high performance leasing can help owners offer higher performing buildings to ensure greater occupant satisfaction and the potential for lease renewal.

You may already be eligible to be recognized nationally for high performance leasing. Visit Green Lease Library for more information.

For more resources, visit High Performance Leasing Resources

For sample provisions to insert into existing leases, visit: Commercial High Performance Leasing Sample Language and Provisions