Green Building Thrives in Shaky Economy

Posted by Rumin Mann
December 6th, 2010

ike a runaway recycling truck, green building’s momentum hasn’t been stopped by the economic recession and will keep speeding through the recovery, according to a report released just prior to the construction industry’s annual green-building conference. At the same time, experts say building owners are looking to go green more for economic reasons than environmental ones.

“Green building is the silver lining creating opportunity in the down economy,” says Harvey M. Bernstein, vice president of McGraw-Hill Construction (ENR is a unit of McGraw-Hill Construction). “And with this growth comes increasing attention on the value and performance of these buildings.”

slide show Green building has grown 50% in the past two years; total construction starts have shrunk 26% over the same time period, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, whose new report, “Green Outlook 2011,” forecasts the dollar value of the green-building sector growing to an estimated $55 to $71 billion this year. That number is expected to nearly triple by 2015, representing as much as $145 billion in new construction activity.

While more building owners are seeking green credentials for their projects, companies are looking at green building more as a profit center, not just as an environmental good deed. Owners of green buildings report a 5% increase in property value, a 4% return on investment and a 1% rise in rental revenue as well as an 8% reduction in operating costs compared with conventional designs, according to a study that McGraw-Hill Construction, property management firm C.B. Richard Ellis and the University of San Diego unveiled at the year’s annual Greenbuild conference and expo, held on Nov. 17-19 in Chicago.

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