Green Construction for Green Bottom Lines in 2016

Following the historic Paris Accord of 2015, many observers have suggested that perhaps 2016 is the year when green becomes the new norm. However in the construction industry, it is the economic promise of green building that’s attracting so much attention recently.

In the 2016 Dodge Data & Analytics’ World Green Building Trends report, research shows that green building is growing so fast that it’s doubling every three years. As Building Design and Construction magazine observed from the survey, the perceived cost of green building is no longer perceived as a barrier to entry as in the same way it has in recent years.

“The survey found that 50% of respondents said higher perceived costs was the top barrier to green building, a decline from 80% in 2008 and 76% in 2012. Developing countries consider lack of public awareness and lack of political support as a key barrier to green building, while the perception of green building in the U.K. is that it’s for high-end projects only.”

In the United States, green building is projected to represent 3.35 jobs and $225 billion in spending by the year 2018. The 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study suggests a variety of factors driving the expansive growth in the sector. The long-term economic savings enjoyed through the utilization of green construction methods is suggested to be a big incentive generating demand according to the study.

“It has been shown that an initial upfront ‘green  investment’ of just 2% of construction costs is shown to yield lifecycle savings of more than 10 times the amount of the initial investment.”

In a recent article in The Guardian, there is discussion regarding the correlation between green buildings, improved employee health, and greater levels of worker productivity and economic efficiency. Among the striking findings by researchers from Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment were the following:

  • The air quality of a building can impact the quality of a resident’s ability to think
  • Higher levels of carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) can affect cognitive functions
  • Environments with better ventilation improved performance in crisis response, strategy, and information usage

Finally, below is an infographic highlighting key points from the recent USGBC study on the economic impact of LEED and green construction: