There’s Nothing “Trendy” about the Green Building Trend

By Jim Rice, LEED AP BD+C, CxA –

“Green.” “Sustainable.” “Eco-friendly.” These words have become a part of the modern lexicon, applied to everything from the cars we drive to the food we eat. Sometimes they’re used so often it can be hard to remember that they actually are more than just buzzwords. The environmental challenges the world faces have never been greater. Soon, over nine billion people will share our planet; increasing demands for resources, energy and infrastructure are pushing nature to its limits. The impact will only continue to magnify as our global population does the same. No industry should be more aware of this than construction – not only is it the top global consumer of raw materials; it also generates between 25 to 40 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.

Fortunately, not only has the industry taken notice, it’s taken action. According to a 2018 study, the majority of projects in the next three years will be green buildings. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) also notes that between 2011 and 2014 green construction generated $167.4 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In fact, the green building sector is outpacing the overall construction industry in growth and is estimated to maintain traction into the foreseeable future.

It’s safe to say that green building isn’t just a passing trend. While the long-term benefits to the planet are obvious, are there any other incentives to “go green?”

Green construction practices can be used as a competitive business edge. Companies are looking to set themselves apart and establish themselves in terms of corporate responsibility. Signs telling visitors about a building’s environmental footprint have become common place in lobbies throughout the United States.

Beyond bragging rights, green buildings have less upkeep costs and lower utility usage. Energy and water savings are perhaps the most obvious, and easiest to comprehend, benefits of green certification. Not only are you saving the planet; you’re saving money.

Green buildings are better for the long-term health and productivity of those who use the building. Occupants who moved from conventional to green office buildings were found to have reduced absenteeism, as well as a positive change in health conditions, such as respiratory allergies, depression and stress.

Still trying to rationalize adopting greener building practices? The USGBC states that upfront investment in green buildings is proven to make properties more valuable – building owners can expect to see at least a 10% increase in asset value.

These statistics show that embracing the green movement is not just responsible business, it’s also good business. For more information on getting LEED certified, call Rice & Gardner Consultants.

Jim Rice is the founder and president of Rice & Gardner Consultants, Inc. Rice is a LEED Accredited Professional, a CxA-Certified Commissioning Authority with the Associated Commissioning Group (ACG) and a Certified Building Commissioning Professional with the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). Rice has extensive experience in managing a wide array of projects for a variety of clients.