Once, commercial real estate benchmarking focused on identifying a space's productivity and its cost effectiveness. With the growth of the green movement in the CRE sector, exemplified by the popularity of LEED certification, benchmarks have changed. Today office users look at buildings on the basis of their environmental efficiency, and these commercial real estate benchmarking tools are not always directly correlated to economic efficiency.
The movement to green created quantum changes in how spaces get used. Square footages are shrinking, with the old benchmark of 225 square feet per employee being reduced by more than 50 percent to goals in the neighborhood of 100 square feet. Other changes include looking at energy efficiency as an end, instead of a means. These new focuses created cost savings and public relations benefits but ultimately harmed operations as too-green buildings hurt retention, morale and productivity.