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San Diego Properties Edge Toward Greener Future

San Diego isn't the greenest real estate market in the country, but it is becoming more sustainable step by step, according to two recent reports.


San Diego climbed one spot on the U.S. Green Building Adoption Index by CBRE and Maastricht University, coming in at No. 18 this year. The market increased its overall percentage of green-certified office space to 29.8%, up from 29.2% last year (counting LEED and Energy Star buildings).

“Green building certifications have become an important proxy for sustainable practices, recognized by all stakeholders," CBRE Senior Vice President, Global Client Care David Pogue said. "Any significant change to one of these major certification programs can have a significant impact on the buildings affected."

While San Diego has held steady in the high teens the last three years, recent policy changes will probably cause San Diego’s green building adoption ranking to improve in the future, according to the report.

The California Green Building Standards Code went into effect in 2017 and is expected to have a significant impact on new product coming to market, as well as the renovation and repositioning of existing product, the report said.

The policy’s effects are already being seen in a variety of projects, including two new LEED Silver-certified residential towers at San Diego State University and a 2M SF car rental facility at the San Diego International airport, which was awarded LEED Gold. In 2014, the airport had the world's first LEED Platinum terminal building.


In a separate report, RentCafé ranks San Diego as No. 14 among the nation's top 40 sustainably powered cities of over 100,000 people.  

The study looked to the Carbon Disclosure Project for details on every municipality’s mix of energy sources (biomass, coal, gas, geothermal, hydro, nuclear, oil, solar, wind), as well as for information on carbon emissions generated by activity in each region.

San Francisco topped the list, with about 88.5% of its power sustainably generated, and Oakland was No. 3, with nearly 85%. For its part, about 70.8% of San Diego's power is sustainably generated.

California cities, including San Diego, will increase their use of sustainable power in the coming years, if a measure just passed by the state legislature has the desired effect.

The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018, as the name suggests, mandates that 100% of the state’s electricity come from carbon-free sources by 2045. The bill is awaiting action by Gov. Jerry Brown, who is expected to sign it.