The US Green Building Council just announced (PDF) a series of findings that show green building is on the rise nationwide, despite economic turmoils, and may prove to be a major "bright spot" in the US economy. The press release cites 5 reports, all of which point in the same direction.
To quote the USGBC, "...as economic experts call for a recovery plan focused on green jobs and infrastructure, as consumers look to live in more economically sustainable homes, as businesses strive to cut operating costs, and as our national security needs depend on an end to reliance on foreign energy sources, green buildings deliver solutions to these pressing challenges (and) promise to change the way we view the building industry."
It's clear the construction industry will never be the same. Construction has always been closely tied to our nation's economic health and is thus an obvious focal point for Obama's green jobs stimulus package. But now, building and technology are converging in new, synergistic ways. No longer are the energy and the construction industries separate. As they grow together, as buildings integrate sophisticated energy-efficient technologies and become more and more highly tuned "machines for living" (to quote Walter Gropius) new opportunities, new companies, and new jobs will be created.
And demand will continue to grow for these products. The way the iPhone reinvented the mp3 player, changing it from a luxury to a must-have item, so will the "iHome" create new demand for buildings that are healthier, more comfortable and have higher resale values. Here are some of the key findings reported by the USGBC:
- Turner Construction's "Green Building Barometer" reports that a full 75% of real estate developers will not be deterred from building green, despite the credit crunch. And 83% will be "very likely" to pursue a LEED rating for their projects.
- McGraw-Hill's 2008 Smart Market Report indicates that 70% of home buyers are "much more inclined" to buy a green home over a conventional home in a down market. And that number goes to 78% for individuals making less than $50,000 a year, proving that green is no longer just for the affluent.
- A joint report by BOMA (the Building Owner's & Manager's Association) USGBC and others, shows that over 80% of commercial building owners have allocated funds for green initiatives and almost half will be increasing that funding in 2009.
- A study by Greener World Media shows that currently $10 billion in green products and systems are tied to LEED-rated buildings, and that number is projected to grow 10 times by the year 2020.
- The Center for American Progress projected that a $100 billion infrastructure investment over ten years would create 2 million new permanent jobs.