Since its inception in 2000, LEED has become the clear leader in green building certification. With more than 80,000 certified projects globally, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) continues to push the envelope with its version 4, which demands that projects be 14 percent more efficient than previous versions.

The new criteria will make it more difficult to achieve the levels of efficiency to become certified, yet according to Dodge Analytics’ World Green Building Trends 2016, the percentage of firms expecting to have more than 60 percent of their projects green certified will double from 18 percent currently to 37 percent by 2018.

This stat supports what I have been saying for a while now: Commercial buildings may surpass residential when it comes to certification as a percentage of new construction.

Why the big leap?

There are several triggers for owners to invest in green building, ranging from climate demands and environmental regulations to cost savings. What’s telling to me is the triggers that have become less important over the years. In 2012, 30 percent responding to Dodge’s survey indicated branding and public relations as a key driver for green certification. Today, that number has dropped to a mere 13 percent of respondents. Similarly, corporate commitment as a driver dropped from 24 percent to 14 percent.

The View from Here is that this indicates that we have reached a tipping point in which green building practices and certification have become less about the prestige. Nowadays it is expected among communities, tenants, owners and regulators. What’s more, all the studies that have come out lately are helping to confirm the ROI in terms of energy savings and other factors, making it even more appealing for stakeholders.

Regardless of the reason or the certifying body, the more focused builders are on energy efficiency the better for our industry, particularly in R&R markets. And we all need to be prepared to capitalize.

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