One-third of all new nonresidential construction is "green"
Not only are new homes in the U.S. getting smaller, they are getting greener. Despite overall sluggishness in the U.S. construction sector, the U.S. green building market is accelerating at a substantial rate, according to a new report from McGraw-Hill Construction.
The report, "Green Outlook 2011: Green Trends Driving Growth," found that green building represented 25 percent of all new construction activity in 2010 and that the value of green building construction starts was up 50 percent from 2008 to 2010 — from $42 billion to $55 billion-$71 billion.
And the growth spurt isn't over. According to projections, by 2015, the size of the green building market is expected to grow to $135 billion.
"It's an amazing area of opportunity at time when the construction market is extremely challenged," said Harvey M. Bernstein, vice president, Global Thought Leadership and Business Development, McGraw-Hill Construction.
"In today's economy, firms that specialize in green or serve this market are seeing a tremendous advantage — and they're doing good at the same time. Green building leads to healthier places for us to live and work in, lower energy and water use, and better profitability," Bernstein said.
The rate of growth in green building has been particularly impressive in the nonresidential sector. One-third of all new nonresidential construction is green. And in five years, nonresidential green building activity is expected to triple, representing $120 billion to $145 billion in new construction, or, 40 to 48 percent of the entire nonresidential market.
According to building owners, factors driving the decision to develop green properties include lower operating costs (eg. heating, cooling, lighting, water), higher building values, and an increase in return on investment.
But building owners are not only building greener because it makes good business sense, an increase in local and federal government regulations and incentives has had a considerable impact on recent trends.
As of September 2010, green building legislation and initiatives were present in 12 federal agencies and 33 states, and at the local level, government initiatives have increased at an aggressive pace — from 156 localities nationwide in 2008 to 384 localities in 2010.
Photo: Arlington County