U.S. construction companies plan on increasing their involvement in green building over the next three years, according to the new World Green Building Trends Study from Dodge Data & Analytics, conducted with support from United Technologies Corp. and its UTC Climate, Controls & Security business. The U.S. is also one of the global leaders in the percentage of firms expecting to construct new green institutional projects and green retrofits of existing buildings.
“The strong U.S. industry for green building projects is clearly an opportunity for U.S. firms, but so is the rapid rise of green in many of the developing countries,” said Stephen Jones, Senior Director of Industry Insights, Dodge Data & Analytics. “Expertise from experienced green designers, builders, and manufacturers from the U.S. is likely to be essential to support the aggressive green building expectations revealed by the study respondents.”
The global study, which also received support from Saint-Gobain, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the Regenerative Network, positions the U.S. as a strong participant in the global green movement. Responses from more than 1,000 building professionals from 60 countries place the U.S. green industry in context. The study also provides specific comparisons with 12 other countries: Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
U.S. construction should see an increase in its share of green work in the next few years, largely as a result of companies intensifying their involvement in the green building industry, according to the report. An increasing percentage of respondents projected that more than 60 percent of their projects would be green projects — up from 24 percent of respondents in 2015 to 39 percent in 2018. Respondents projecting that fewer than 15 percent of their projects would be certified green plummeted from 41 percent in 2015 to 27 percent by 2018.
While this increased share of green building is impressive, it is significantly less than many developing countries included in the survey. For example, Brazil expects six-fold growth (from 6 percent to 36 percent) in the percentage of companies conducting a majority of their projects green; five-fold growth is expected in China (from 5 percent to 28 percent); and four-fold growth is expected in Saudi Arabia (from 8 percent to 32 percent).
“International demand for green building, due in great part to the LEED green building program’s global popularity, has grown steadily over the years,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “Countries are looking for tools that support stable and sustainable economic growth. International business leaders and policy makers recognize that a commitment to transforming the built environment is crucial to addressing major environmental challenges.”
In the U.S., the highest percentage of respondents report that they expect to work on new green institutional projects (such as schools, hospitals, and public buildings), green retrofits of existing buildings and new green commercial construction (such as office and retail buildings) in the next three years. When compared with global averages, it becomes clear that the U.S. is a leader in new green institutional construction and green retrofits of existing buildings.
- 46 percent of U.S. respondents expect to work on new green institutional buildings, compared to 38 percent globally;
- 43 percent of U.S. respondents plan to work on green retrofits of existing buildings, again well above the global average of 37 percent.
The U.S. is also distinguished from the global findings in terms of the importance it places on reducing energy consumption as an environmental reason for building green. Over three quarters (76 percent) of U.S. respondents consider this important, nearly double the percentage of the next most important environmental factor, which is reducing water consumption. While the other 12 countries in the study prioritize the reduction of energy consumption, only Germany, Poland, and Singapore do so to the same extent.
“The survey shows that global green building activity continues to double every three years,” said United Technologies Chief Sustainability Officer John Mandyck. “More people recognize the economic and productivity value that green buildings bring to property owners and tenants, along with the energy and water benefits to the environment, which is driving the green building industry’s growth. It’s a win-win for people, planet, and the economy.”
The study demonstrates the benefits of building green, with median operating cost decreases for green buildings of 9 percent expected in just one year globally. Building owners also report seeing a median increase of 7 percent in the value of their green buildings compared to traditional buildings, an increase that is consistent between newly built green buildings and those that are renovated green. These business benefits are a critical driver for the growth of green building anticipated globally.
The U.S. is also notable for having the lowest percentage of respondents who report that their company uses metrics to track green building performance. Only 57 percent of U.S. respondents report using metrics, compared to a 75 percent average globally. This may be linked to the fact that the U.S. is also the country with the highest level of concern reported about higher perceived first costs for green building, notably more than the percentage who consider this an important challenge to green in other developed countries with active construction markets like Germany and the U.K.