Green building, or sustainable construction, is getting a lot of good press lately. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently released the first comprehensive report by a federal agency regarding acquiring, constructing, operating and maintaining sustainable buildings. “Sustainability Matters” (www.gsa.gov/sustainabledesign) is a collection of case studies and industry best practices that address GSA’s sustainability initiatives and strategies at all stages of a building’s lifecycle.

“We want to be part of transforming the building industry so that ‘green’ is the only way of doing business,” said GSA’s Commissioner of Public Buildings David L. Winstead.

The GSA demonstrates how to create sustainable buildings by integrating energy-efficient and environmentally sound decisions and technologies into building designs. It uses the U.S. Green Buildings Council’s LEED rating system as a tool to evaluate and measure its achievement in sustainable design. The goals are to conserve resources and create more productive and healthier workplaces.   

Green Growth

According to McGraw-Hill Construction’s “Green Outlook 2009: Trends Driving Change” report, the U.S. green building market is accelerating at a dramatic rate -  the value of green building construction starts was up five-fold from 2005 to 2008 (from $10 billion to $36-$49 billion), and could triple by 2013, reaching $96-$140 billion. Drivers are growing public awareness, an increase in government regulations and recognition of bottom-line advantages. 

“The business opportunities afforded by green building, even in the midst of a global economic crisis, are real and recognized by industry players,” said Harvey M. Bernstein, vice president of industry analytics, alliances and strategic initiatives, McGraw-Hill Construction. “Furthermore, green building has great potential to help tackle unemployment through green jobs, and can address other societal issues, such as creating healthier places where we live and work.”

U.S. Green Building Council members report green building to be less affected by the down market compared to non-green building, and homebuyers are willing to pay more for a green home. Perceived economic benefits are driving green building, including higher revenues, lower lifecycle costs and lower operating costs, but builders and buyers are also motivated by health benefits, new government regulation and pressure from global competition.

To order a copy of the report, visit http://construction.com/market_research/default.asp.

Links