The economic downturn could help to stimulate the development of more sustainable buildings, the European law firm Taylor Wessing claims in a report

In Behind the Green Facade, the firm suggests that the tougher market will encourage businesses to seek sustainable properties in order to demonstrate their corporate responsibility and to attract socially conscious employees.

Taylor Wessing canvassed 5450 commercial property professionals on their attitudes towards climate change and the recession last October.

The findings indicated that cost is misleadingly perceived to be a barrier to green buildings: 87% of the corporate occupiers questioned said they would be willing to pay more rent to secure a long-term sustainable building.

The respondents’ enthusiasm was also stimulated by public pressure and by forthcoming legislative developments.

The survey also highlighted the different levels of understanding of sustainability issues with the commercial property sector: 70% of end users and investors said that they have “no” or “some” understanding of sustainability issues, while developers and contractors reported “good” or “high” levels of understanding.