The “Green Building” movement is gathering momentum worldwide as businesses increasingly see attractive economic returns and social-environmental benefits from enhancing the overall sustainability of their operations, including initiatives to conserve and enhance efficiencies with regard to energy, water and other natural resources.
The number of businesses anticipating that more than 60 percent of their operations will be “green” by 2014 will more than triple in South Africa; more than double in Brazil, Germany and Norway; and increase from 33-68 percent in Australia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the UK and the US, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s, “World Green Building Trends – Business Benefits Driving New and Retrofit Market Opportunities in Over 60 Countries.”
Green building market: Moving from supply-push to demand-pull
Surveying green building activities among businesses worldwide, McGraw-Hill Construction and United Technologies Corp. (UTC) found that 51 percent of survey respondents expect that more than 60 percent of their operations will be green by 2015. That’s a big increase from the 28 percent that expect the same in 2013, and double the 13 percent from 2008, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s press release.
“This report confirms that the green building movement has shifted from ‘push’ to ‘pull’—with markets increasingly demanding no less than green buildings,” John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, UTC Climate, Controls & Security, was quoted as saying.
There has been a decided shift toward focusing on green building among business executives and management, the researchers found. Green building has become a business imperative in economies worldwide. The top driver in the 2008 Green Building report was “doing the right thing.” In 2012, client and market demand are the key factors driving green building initiatives, according to the report authors.
“By promoting greater efficiencies for energy and water, green buildings lower building costs while conserving the earth’s precious resources. This powerful combination of built-in payback with environmental stewardship creates a new value proposition that is accelerating green building in all regions of the globe.”
Returns, benefits from doing the right thing
A resonance has developed in recent years whereby business opportunities and expected benefits of green building are matching up: 76 percent of respondents reported that green building lowers operating costs, with more than one-third pointing to higher building values (38 percent), quality assurance (38 percent), and future-proofing assets (36 percent) as tangible benefits and returns on investment.
“The acceleration of the green building marketplace around the world is creating markets for green building products and technologies, which in turn will lead to faster growth of green building,” commented Harvey Bernstein, vice president of Industry Insights and Alliances at McGraw-Hill Construction.
“And the fact that green is growing in all parts of the world indicates that there are market opportunities in both established markets as well as developing countries.”
Indicative of the high expectations for green building, 19 percent of global industry professionals expect their operating costs to drop 15 percent or more over the next year while 51 percent believe they’ll drop 6 percent or more. Thirty-nine percent expect green building initiatives to result in savings of 15 percent or more over the next five years, while 67 percent expect to see savings of six percent or more.
In addition, 89 percent reported using or specifying a green building product, according to the McGraw-Hill Construction-UTC report, while 91 percent expect to do so by 2017. Electrical, mechanical, and thermal and moisture protection were cited as the most significant green building opportunities – at least 60 percent of survey respondents stated they had installed or specified products in these categories in 2012. A slightly higher percentage expect to do so by 2017.
Used by 52 percent of responding businesses, measuring lower operating cost is the most-used metric when it comes to evaluating green building performance, the researchers found. “These benefits are particularly important given that they can offset the higher initial costs that 76 percent of the industry report as the biggest challenge to building green,” they stated.