Do green buildings generate higher rents, occupancy rates and sales prices? Now the answer to that question has moved out of the anecdotal realm into the realm of hard data.

A new study by Bethesda, Md.-based CoStar Group, which analyzed more than 1,300 LEED and Energy Star buildings representing roughly 351 million sq. ft. in the company’s commercial property database, shows that not only are rents and occupancy rates higher in green buildings but sales prices are substantially higher.

LEED buildings are achieving rent premiums of $11.33 per sq. ft. over traditional peers and enjoy 4.1% higher occupancy rates. Energy Star buildings are commanding rent premiums of $2.40 per sq. ft. with occupancy rates of 3.6% over peers.

On the sales front, LEED buildings are achieving $171 more per sq. ft. while Energy Star buildings are selling for an average of $61 per sq. ft. more than comparable non-Energy Star buildings.

LEED buildings rent premiums of $11.33 per square foot over their non-LEED peers and have 4.1 percent higher occupancy. Rental rates in Energy Star buildings represent a $2.40 per square foot premium over comparable non-Energy Star buildings and have 3.6 percent higher occupancy.

"The information we’ve discovered is very compelling. Like all good science, we discovered it by accident," said Andrew Florance, president and CEO of CoStar. "Green buildings are clearly achieving higher rents and higher occupancy, they have lower operating costs, and they’re achieving higher sale prices."

For more information, or to view a copy of the study http://www.costar.com/News/Article.aspx?id=D968F1E0DCF73712B03A099E0E99C679