As 2009 came to a close, I wrote about why I’m hopeful for a prosperous new year, from an environmental standpoint. Included in my list was the green building boom and how the industry will likely continue to see growth in 2010. Earth Advantage, a green building nonprofit organization based in Oregon, is also keeping their eye on the green building boom this year. The organization recently released its list of the top 10 green building trends for 2010 (PDF).

One of the green building trends to watch this year is the emergence of energy labeling for both homes and office buildings. Recent legislation in the Pacific Northwest included the possibility of including an Energy Performance Score as part of the property transaction process.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is already working on an energy labeling pilot program – The Building Energy Quotient Program. The Building EQ pilot is working with organizations and businesses across the nation to create the Building EQ program standard.

Another green building trend being watched by Earth Advantage is the financial community’s support for green buildings. From a purely up-front financial standpoint, many financiers are leery of the increased initial outlay. However, as awareness about green building grows, we may see more lending institutions embrace the importance of green buildings.

The seventh item on the Earth Advantage list is water conservation. I think that water conservation will be, in general, one of the hottest eco-trends of 2010. Blue is the new green and now that the general public is more aware of the importance of energy conservation, it is time to refocus on the world’s most precious resource — water.

Now this is not to say that I think energy conservation will fall by the wayside, quite the contrary. Energy conservation will continue to be a hot button topic in the field of green building but water conservation will quickly gain momentum and be seen to be of equal importance.

The remaining green building trends to watch in 2010 include the smart grid/connected home, building information modeling software, the rightsizing of homes, emerging eco-districts in the nation’s cities, carbon calculation, net-zero buildings, and sustainable building education.

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