Despite the downturn, Nevada businesses are eager to invest in energy-efficient buildings, local officials say. "In a competitive market ... tenants look for best performance of buildings," says one green-building expert. "High-performance energy-efficient buildings tend to maintain higher occupancy levels and rents than other properties, as a result." Green building retrofits could increase by up to 30% by 2014 -- that's about $15 billion in construction spending a year, according to McGraw-Hill Construction.

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