The Rise of “Green” Commercial Real Estate in Houston

Green commercial real estate in HoustonIt’s an established fact that everything’s bigger in Texas, and that is especially true in the city of Houston. A boom-town in the truest sense of the word, Houston has seen consistent growth as an international port since the discovery of oil at the turn of the 20th century. Owing much of its economic success to its close ties to the oil and natural gas industries, environmentally-friendly superlatives are a new addition to the vocabulary used discussing the city. That image is changing though, as the trend sweeping commercial real estate houston  – The WoodlandsSugar Land metropolitan area can be described as “going green.”

Green Commercial Development in Houston

Although the companies occupying many of the Houston office spaces are known for “black gold”, these same companies have been making achievements in green development and commercial sustainability over the past decade – a welcome trend. One of the “marquee” green development projects that helped catalyze the growing bias is Discovery Green. An elegant 12-acre illustration of how natural beauty can be seamlessly integrated with a bustling, urban environment, this park in downtown Houston celebrated its 6th birthday in 2014. The park was constructed over six years through the combined effort of the City of Houston and private interests, and might be considered the green “heart” of Houston’s sustainable commercial developments. A recent study found that more than half of Houston’s commercial spaces downtown are considered “green”. Houston also ranks in the top cities in the nation for the number of Energy Star and LEED-certified commercial properties.

Sustainability’s Staying Power

Commercial development is like fashion, in that new trends come and go almost like clockwork. The design trends of today almost always come with an expiration date, and it can be tempting to dismiss sustainable projects in an historically oil-friendly city like Houston as nothing more than the design du jour. Tempting as it may be, it would almost certainly be a mistake; the tangible benefits, and still growing popularity, of green development are hard to argue with:

Synergy: Commercial developments that use an environmentally conscious approach to planning create more than just utilitarian workspaces. A consequence of designing sustainable projects is that they produce extremely “livable” environments, which attract people and businesses to an area. One such development is a mixed-use project being built in near Houston on 48 acres of land west of Texas 288. The end result of the development will be a combination of residential homes, offices and retail space, and green spaces.

Recognition: Green development is about more than just creating attractive spaces for people and businesses to move into. Because the goal and result of these types of projects is something that benefits society as a whole through a smaller collective impact on the environment, businesses and developers can receive positive recognition. One of the most well-known ways for companies to showcase their commitment to sustainability is by receiving a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Savings: At the end of the day creating synergies between commercial, residential, and natural components of a community, or being recognized for environmental friendliness are only two supplemental reasons for why the trend of green development is here to stay (in Houston and around the country). Green office design also provides tremendous savings by reducing the overhead of a commercial property. One of the primary effects of “going green” is to reduce the energy, water, and landscaping requirements of a property through the intelligent application of sustainable design techniques and modern energy-saving technologies.

Existing office buildings can also be updated or maintained in a way to make them more sustainable. On Boxer’s front, our BEST (Boxer Energy & Sustainability Tracking) program improves energy use in Houston office buildings – as well as those in other markets – through upgrades such as lighting retrofits, power factor management, energy use management, and window film installation.