A green building boom is on the way (and sooner than you might think)

Thu, 2018-11-15 13:28 -- Doug Peeples

Green construction projects have grown substantially over the past 10 years globally. According to new research, they're expected to grow even more, to the point of doubling in some parts of the world in a relatively short time. The value of green buildings has already been confirmed. They're better for the environment, consume less energy and they're healthier places to live and work.

If your city is on the fence or reluctant to commit to green construction initiatives, here's something to think about: the growth in green building is driven by demand. And meeting the demands and expectations of current and prospective citizens and businesses is essential for cities that want to build and maintain a competitive edge in today's world. — Doug Peeples

Almost half of the respondents to a recent Dodge Data & Analytics survey confirmed that they're planning to go green with the majority (more than 60%) of their building projects over the next three years. That's what the company's World Green Building Trends 2018 SmartMarket Report survey found.

The report spanned six continents with input from 2,000 building professionals, including architects, contractors, engineers and building owners. "Enthusiasm for green building is clear in all major markets measured, and that is driven by the business benefits they receive, which have stayed consistent since 2012," said Donna Laquidara-Carr, Industry Insights Research director for the company.

The report features 19 countries, with all of them anticipating "substantial growth" in green building construction.

Highlights from the report include:

  • New green buildings can generate 8% in energy cost savings in the first year and increased building asset value of 7%.
  • The perception that green construction costs more than traditional construction seems to be waning — from over three quarters in 2012 to under half now.
  • Healthier buildings rank high as a green building priority. Improved occupant health, wellbeing and workforce productivity is considered a top benefit in the industry, as Terri Wills, CEO of the World Green Building Council explained. Her organization and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a Smart Cities Council Advisor, contributed to the study.
  • While some survey respondents said they didn't plan to seek certification for their green building projects, more than two-thirds said they find certification enables them to ensure their buildings performed better. More than half said third party verification from rating systems help ensure that building are operating sustainably.

LEED certification developed by the USGBC is a widely used green building rating system.

Benefits for retrofits and renovations, too
Fortunately, the benefits extend beyond new buildings to retrofits and renovations. As American Institute of Architects 2018 President Carl Elefante said, "Retrofitting buildings is critical to meeting our carbon-neutral goals. This data shows that not only is it good for our planet, but it can also mean an operating cost savings or almost ten percent in the first few years." He added that more needs to be done in terms of incentives and policies for retrofits to achieve their potential.