Green building will continue to grow in spite of the global credit crisis and the ongoing economic recession in most countries.
What we’re seeing is that more people are going green each year, and there is nothing on the horizon that will stop this trend. In putting together my Top Ten trends for 2009, I’m taking advantage of conversations I’ve had with green building leaders in the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Middle East the past year.
My “Top Ten” trends include the following:
- Green building will continue to grow more than 60 percent in 2009, on a cumulative basis. We’ve seen cumulative growth in new LEED projects over 60 percent per year since 2006, in fact 80 percent in 2008, and there’s no sign that the green wave has crested.
- Green building will benefit from the new Obama presidency, with a strong focus on green jobs in energy efficiency, new green technologies and renewable energy. This trend will last for at least the next four years.
- The focus of green building will begin to switch from new buildings to greening existing buildings. The fastest growing LEED rating system in 2008 was the LEED for Existing Buildings program, and I expect this trend to continue in 2009.
- Awareness of the coming global crisis in fresh water supply will increase, leading building designers and managers to take further steps to reduce water consumption in buildings with more conserving fixtures, rainwater recovery systems and innovative new water technologies.
- LEED Platinum-rated projects will become more commonplace as building owners, designers and construction teams learn how to design for higher levels of LEED achievement on conventional budgets.
- Solar power use in buildings will accelerate with the extension of solar energy tax credits for buildings through 2016 and the prospect of increasing utility focus on renewable power goals for 2015 and 2020. As before, third-party financing partnerships will continue to grow and provide capital for large rooftop systems.
- Local governments will increasingly mandate green buildings from both themselves and the private sector. While concern over economic impacts of green buildings mandates will be present, the desire to reduce carbon emission by going green will lead more government agencies to require green buildings.
- Zero net energy designs for new buildings will gain increasing acceptance in both public and private buildings. In my books, I’ve shown that you can get building energy use down to low levels with better design, and that makes it easier and more cost-effective to buy green power to displace the remaining energy use.
- Green homes will come to dominate new home developments in more sections of the U.S., as builders increasingly see green as a source of competitive advantage. This trend was foreseen in my 2008 book, Choosing Green (New Society Publishers), which for the first time documented the large number of new green housing developments in the U.S. and Canada.
- European green building technologies will become better known and more widely adopted in the U.S. and Canada. My forthcoming 2009 book, Green Building Trends: Europe (Island Press), will be out in the spring and will help accelerate this trend, along with more European architects and engineers opening offices in the U.S.
For more information please contact Jerry Yudelson, 520-207-9759, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.greenbuildconsult.com.