Now that the U.S. economy has moved past the worst of the recession, the construction industry is starting to recover and is showing signs of some interesting trends. One of those developments has been the increase in green building projects. It is reported that in 2013, there were over 50,000 LEED projects under construction.
While there was green building going on before the recession, it is now viewed as a critical feature in reducing the overall cost of operating a building. With the advancement of newer technologies, there are even more options available that can provide real savings in energy efficiency as well as being beneficial for the environment. An article in Constructech cites a statistic from TechNavio that states, “The global green building material market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 17.9% during the period from 2012-2016.”*
Yudelson Associates, a green building consultant, forecasts a continued growth in green building for 2014 and beyond. The move is helped by stronger federal and state guidelines that call for higher standards and a general public awareness of rising energy cost and global water shortages. A number of new projects are becoming even more ambitious and striving to construct buildings that have an annual zero net energy usage.
Another on-going trend is retrofitting existing buildings in an attempt to make them greener. Currently this is being done especially in government buildings and educational institutions. Yudelson stated that, “Five hundred existing Federal buildings will seek green building ratings in 2014.”
The EPA has complied data to show how older buildings are using significantly more energy and resources than newer, comparable buildings that provide the same functions and same square footage. They have developed a framework for retrofitting existing building to be more sustainable, which includes, “Improve energy efficiency, reduce water consumption, enhance stormwater management, test and improve indoor air quality, and to standardize and document green operations and maintenance practices.”
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