building certifications

research finds green office buildings deliver 

We strive to reduce operating expenses from utility use and waste generation while at the same time improve environmental performance and efficiency of our buildings. One approach we have prioritized is green building certifications such as LEED, ENERGY STAR and BOMA BEST. For years we have believed that proactively managing sustainability factors through green building certifications not only increases net operating income, but also instills best management practices and leads to superior building performance, benefiting both clients and tenants.

Our role as a fiduciary led us to go beyond belief, intuition and case studies to seek compelling portfolio-wide evidence through research. A first of its kind report was commissioned by Bentall Kennedy on the financial effects of green building certifications on commercial office buildings. The article, titled “Green Certification and Building Performance: Implications for Tangibles and Intangibles”, was published in the September 2015 Special Real Estate Issue of Institutional Investor’s Journal of Portfolio Management.

The study was conducted by Dr. Nils Kok of Maastricht University in the Netherlands and Dr. Avis Devine of the University of Guelph in Canada. The research methodology included analyzing 10 years of actual rent data from office properties within the Bentall Kennedy portfolio: 143 assets in the U.S. and 148 assets in Canada, representing a total of 58 million square feet.

The intuition we have been acting on was reconfirmed through this research, which demonstrated that not only are green certified buildings generally more efficient, but a model of the value impact of three key findings (rental rate premiums, fewer rent concessions and occupancy rate premiums) suggests an 8-10% higher asset value from green office buildings versus non-certified buildings.

The illustration above shows the hypothetical change in value of a hypothetical property using a Bentall Kennedy valuation model that is based on a discounted cash flow approach. This is a hypothetical illustration for the purpose of estimating a possible value impact of the changes in rental rates, rent concessions, and occupancy rates correlated to green building certification in the study. It does not present actual increases in value or potential future increases in value of actual investments. The increase of value is shown at a point in time based on changes to assumptions in the valuation model, and does not represent a rate of return. Bentall Kennedy believes that the assumptions about market conditions that factor into the model are reasonable for an office property located in North America, but market conditions may vary by geographic area and could differ significantly from these assumptions. There can be no assurance that an investment in green certification would have a similar impact on an actual building. The model further does not reflect fees, transaction costs and other expenses that would decrease the return on actual investment.

*In Canada, LEED data less robust
**In U.S., BOMA BEST not available 

In 2015, we launched our LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED EB:O&M) Volume Program and a BOMA BEST Portfolio Program. Over the coming years, these programs will enable us to effectively increase the coverage of building certifications across our portfolio to deliver higher income and value. 

Total number of buildings certified or labeled:

Certification Scheme  Total Number of Buildings
 BOMA BEST (Canada)  407^
 LEED (Canada & U.S.)  92^
 ENERGY STAR (Canada & U.S.)   114^

LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)

We certify buildings to LEED rating systems in both Canada and the U.S. There are several LEED rating systems, and the most relevant rating systems for our portfolio address new construction (NC), core and shell (CS) and existing buildings: operations and management (EB:O&M).

In our U.S. portfolio, 67% of our office assets (based on asset value) are LEED certified, an achievement driven in part by our participation in a pilot program for LEED EB:O&M Volume certification in 2010 and 2011.

In Canada, 56% of the office portfolio is LEED certified (based on asset values).  

In 2015, we rolled out a LEED EB:O&M Volume program in both Canada and the U.S. This is a multi-year program that will enable us to increase the coverage of building certifications across our portfolio more efficiently and at a reduced cost .[CRE8]

back to top

ExpandLEED certified buildings by rating system and level (Canada and US)

back to top

ExpandCanada and US: LEED certified office buildings

BOMA BEST (Building Environmental Standards)

The BOMA BEST Certification program is delivered through the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Canada and its affiliates ( This program is designed for existing buildings. The certification is valid for three years.

Based on asset value, 56% of office buildings and 74% of retail properties are BOMA BEST certified. In total, 55% of the Canadian portfolio is certified based on asset value. [CRE8]

To increase the certification coverage of our buildings, in 2015, we rolled out a BOMA BEST portfolio program in Canada and by the end of 2015, 130 buildings had been certified through the program with many more registered for 2016.  

back to top

ExpandBOMA BEST certified buildings in Canada (sqft)

back to top

ExpandBOMA BEST certified as portion of canadian portfolio by asset type


The ENERGY STAR program was introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 as a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants associated with energy use. Buildings that receive an ENERGY STAR score of 75 receive an ENERGY STAR label for exemplary performance. A score of 75 indicates 25% higher energy efficiency than the U.S. national average. The label must be achieved each year and verified externally.

Over 40% of the Bentall Kennedy office portfolio in the U.S. has achieved an ENERGY STAR label based on asset value. All eligible office properties use the ENERGY STAR platform to benchmark energy information and track progress. Industrial properties are increasingly using the program for benchmarking if they are eligible, and more than one-third of our total industrial square footage has also achieved the ENERGY STAR label.

back to top

ExpandENERGY STAR Benchmarked - North America 2015

While ENERGY STAR labeling is only available in the U.S., the benchmarking program launched in Canada in the summer of 2013 and we are working to establish benchmarks for our Canadian assets.[CRE8]

Quick Facts

$11 billion in assets certified to LEED, including office, retail, and multi-family properties.

Quick Facts

Bentall Kennedy was recognized by the EPA as an Energy Star Partner - Sustained Excellence winner for the 6th year running.

Home // Environment // building certifications