Green Building: What a Difference Seven Years Makes

October 29th, 2012 by DWM Magazine

In 2005 there were more green residential projects than commercial, said Harvey Bernstein, vice president, industry insights and alliances, McGraw Hill Construction (MHC) during MHC’s Annual Outlook Executive Conference held last week in Washington, D.C. While the scales have tipped and commercial green building now dominates a larger slice of the green pie, Bernstein nevertheless said regardless of the market, green is here to stay.

If you don’t believe him look at the numbers: Over half of all building construction is green; and in the commercial market, by 2016, $240 billion dollars will be devoted to green projects.

Companies aren’t just sliding by either. “Almost everyone is doing more than the bare minimum requires,” said Bernstein.

Even in the difficult residential market, green building has achieved growth.

“34-$38 billion will be devoted to residential green building in 2013 and in 2016 somewhere greater than a third of residential projects will be green,” he said.

Bernstein said research has shown a real shift among builders during the downturn. The amount of homebuilders dedicated to green (meaning 90 percent of the home is green), comprise 17 percent of all homebuilders this year and by 2016, “one third of builders will build green homes,” he said.

Additional growth is projected in the commercial market as well and not just for new buildings.

“There is a real opportunity in the retrofit market to move toward high-performance buildings,” said Bernstein.

He added that an interesting factor is that owners aren’t building green just for reduced operating costs. “It’s the social and environmental factors, reduction in health care costs and productivity improvements.”

Bernstein also pointed out the trend in pre-fabrication as a key shift taking place as companies seek to reduce construction waste.

And while the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program may be leading the way toward growth, it’s not the only reason this market is increasing.

“Companies are interested in energy disclosure reporting, transparency of the supply chain, life cycle assessment, environmental declarations, etc.,” he added.

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