Article Date: 12/20/2013

What is the Typical ROI for Meeting LEED-EB Standards?

By Steve Rizer


What kind of a payback period should be expected for meeting the standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) rating system? During “Maximizing Value in Retro-Commissioned Buildings,” a 90-minute webinar that WPL Publishing held earlier this month, Triple Green Building Group Principal Kelly Gearhart provided attendees some interesting statistics on this topic, reporting not only the amount of time it typically takes to garner a return on investment (ROI) for meeting LEED-EB criteria but also the amount of money that can be saved per year. 


Gearhart told the webinar audience that the average ROI for meeting the standards of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED-EB rating system is 2.6 years. The estimate, first reported by USGBC, is based on “an initial sampling” of LEED-EB certified buildings. Annual net savings reportedly exceeds $170,000. 


Gearhart singled out the National Geographic Society Headquarters Complex in Washington, D.C., as an example of the financial gains that can be obtained by meeting LEED-EB standards. “The National Geographic headquarters is one of the first buildings to engage in the LEED for Existing Buildings process. They’ve seen an increase of $24 million in value due to higher appraised value.” In addition to an ability to receive higher tenant rents, benefits of the endeavor include lower waste-disposal expenses, lower operating costs, improved credit ratings, and lower interest rates on debt instruments, she said.


Gearhart noted that, in general, LEED-EB Silver certification has “a strong, positive effect on assessed value and market value. Gold certification has a strong, positive effect on assessed value.”


Also during the webinar, Gearhart discussed the investigation and analysis process, retro-commissioning plans, the "staged approach," the ongoing commissioning process, and other topics.


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