Global Green Transformation

Sometimes it seems like the only thing growing faster than the green markets is the number of people tracking them. And they all seem to be saying the same thing: the green building industry is not only here to stay, but it is growing at an unprecedented rate. Here are a few statistics, culled from, among other sources, the USGBC’s Green Building by The Numbers.

· The value of the U.S. Green building market is expected to climb to $60 billion next year, according to McGraw Hill Construction’s 2008 report Key Trends in the European and U.S. Construction Marketplace.

· Membership in the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has tripled since 2000 to almost 18,000 organizations, and almost 70,000 people have earned LEED credentials.

· From its start in 2000, there are now more than 4.2 billion square feet of commercial space associated with the LEED program. (Source: USGBC)

· According to the USGBC, more than $462 million worth of construction projects are registered with LEED every business day.There are currently more than 2100 LEED-Certified projects in the U.S. and more than 16,000 registered.

That growth is not limited to the US. The rest of the world is posting similar increases:

· A recent Frost & Sullivan report concluded that the growth of the green building market in Europe has been exponential over the past ten years and will likely grow at the rate of 30% per year over the next ten years.

· According to to the World Green Building Council, ten countries currently have standard-setting organizations such as the USGBC under their aegis, fourteen more are in the process of forming them and another 20 countries have expressed interest in forming one.

· In the United Kingdom, which has had a Council since 1999 now has more than 73,000 certified buildings and another 285,000 in the works.

What factors are driving this incredible rate of growth? Experts who follow these markets seem to agree that there are four principal drivers: legislation, economic factors, environmental concerns and new technologies.

Legislation — European Union lawmakers introduced the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) in 2002, requiring all EU countries to, among other things, tighten building regulations, introduce certification programs and inspect all boilers and air conditioners.

Economic Factors – The price of energy has been going up, and commercial buildings consume 40% of the electricity in the U.S. Since there are no alternative sources readily available, building owners and designers are being forced to embrace green design / build and retrofits, both of which offer reduced building operating costs.

Environmental Concerns – Commercial buildings are responsible for almost 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Increased concerns about greenhouse gases and global warming are driving many people to want green solutions.

New Technologies – As the green building movement grows, entrepreneurs introduce new technologies to make buildings more energy efficient. As with any technology, prices fall as demand rises. The price differential between a green building and a traditional building continues to drop, and soon there will be no material difference between them.

All signs seem to point to the green building movement reaching a point of critical mass, when it acquires a life of its own and becomes the driver instead of the driven.

Rich Silverman, Goodway Blogging Team

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