In the business of buildings, net zero becomes a towering target

Originally published by GreenBiz: The COVID-19 pandemic reset the business of commercial real estate, with repercussions still coming into focus. Tens of millions of U.S. professionals stopped commuting to work in spring of 2020, laboring from home for months or longer. With sustainability and ESG factors being increasingly important for competitive features, net-zero carbon commitments are emerging as the next big “must-have” for large owners and operators seeking to access finance, reduce risk and attract top-notch employees, tenants and clients.

The number of net-zero energy buildings could be counted on two or three fingers a decade ago. Now there are about 700 in the U.S. and Canada, a growth of 42 percent between 2018 and 2020, especially in states with strong climate action goals, according to New Buildings Institute, which maintains the Getting to Zero database of low- and zero-energy commercial and multifamily buildings. Square footage rose by 38 percent in that same time period to 62 million.

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