Rising energy prices may create a construction market worth as much as $20 billion in just three years as property owners build “green.”

McGraw Hill Construction projects that, by 2010, between 5 and 10 percent of new nonresidential construction will incorporate energy-saving green building methods. That’s a $10 billion to $20 billion market.

The importance of “green” construction techniques was featured throughout many of the events that took place at the MCAA’s Annual Convention, Feb. 25-March 1, Orlando, Fla.

  • In his first remarks as the new association president, Dave Kruse said MCAA contractors will become leaders in green building and sustainable construction.

    “We need to lead the charge and not just go along for the ride,” Kruse explained. “We can provide responsible leadership to those developing mechanical and plumbing green building standards to ensure that sustainable construction is done right.”

    The association has added the tag line “We build it greener” to its logo. While the group’s logo still remains the same, the MCAA will use the logo on letterhead and promotional copy whenever it undertakes a green endeavor.

  • The MCAA will feature green building in the first of a new series of business development conferences. “Catch the Next Wave: Seizing the Opportunities that Lie Ahead,” will be held Sept. 24-27, Milwaukee. The association will also offer “Green 101,” taught by Tim Wentz, professor, University of Nebraska at dates and locations to be announced.
  • The convention featured two seminars, “The Profitable Promise of Green,” and “The Contractor’s Role in the Greening of Our Built Environment.”

    Tom Hicks, U.S. Green Building Council, gave an update on the organization’s well-known Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program during the “Profitable Promise” session.

    More important than the comments he made in his presentation were the answers he gave to questions on the role water use plays in the LEED accreditation. More than a few mechanical contractors have raised the issue that water takes a backseat to energy.

    Hicks said the USGBC is currently making various improvements to the existing program. The future LEED program may mean more points for water conservation, and could possibly add more points to the total for areas of the country where water use is particularly crucial.

  • To keep pace with construction overall, United Association President Bill Hite outlined his plans to have 50,000 techs in training by the end of the year. The UA also launched a “Green Awareness Training and Certification” program. The 20-hour course will give contractors what they need to know about energy-efficient practices and products. The course will also be offered at the UA’s annual instructor training program so UA instructors can further offer the course in their local areas.