A new kind of Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is on the horizon, and its future is looking bright green. Green Realty Trust, a new project from real estate investor Rob Hannah, hopes to make it easier to bring big money to green building retrofit projects.
The REIT will be non-publicly traded and aims to raise a minimum of $2 million in shares by the end of 2008. This money will be used to invest in green retrofit projects, a sector that has so far missed much of the limelight aimed at new, green construction projects. Typically, renovating an existing building raises more concerns from investors than financing a new construction project and, on the green side of things, many of the points needed for LEED-EB certification are easier to earn in an empty building rather than an occupied one, resulting in lost rents from tenants displaced during the renovations.
But, experts predict that the market for renovations will soon be booming, regardless of the credit crunch. Existing buildings make up 99 percent or more of the country's office space and are responsible for a significant segment of greenhouse-gas emissions, making green retrofits an obvious step in solving the climate crisis.
U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) board member Tim Cole says, "Existing commercial buildings in the United States account for 60 billion square feet of space. If we want to make a difference for the environment, building occupants, and our bottom lines, we must get our existing building stock up to peak green performance."