With the flurry of new commercial development activity in recent years, few trends stand out as much as the shift towards green building. The market for sustainable products, practices, and processes in the building industry is augmented by public awareness and even increased legislation. Each year more and more developers, government agencies, real estate managers and contractors incorporate green features into their buildings and facilities.
With this increased attention on green building requirements and rating systems, a shift in market demands and even government regulations, what are the most notable trends emerging in commercial green building?
Top Trends Driving the Market
Certification Slow Down
While important elements of sustainable design continue to play a significant role in new commercial construction, there is a trend towards certification fatigue. LEED certification and Energy Star ratings remain strong in terms of adoption, but industry leaders note filling out so much documentation and jumping through hoops to attain these certifications are not not required to fulfill green building goals. At the same time, we’re seeing a rise in competition with more rating systems in the market such as Green Globes.
Eco-Friendly Building Materials
Using eco-friendly building materials in commercial construction ultimately results in lower fossil fuel consumption and less waste, on top of being better for the environment and people. Materials such as recycled steel, new types of concrete, and insulated concrete forms (ICFs) are becoming more commonplace in commercial construction not only because they are more energy efficient, but also because they are incredibly long-lasting.
Net-Zero Energy Buildings
A building that creates as much renewable energy as it consumes throughout the year is considered a net-zero energy building. While still far from the norm, net-zero energy buildings are becoming more commonplace and more specifically, interest in pursuing these types of projects is steadily growing. As solar panels continue to become more affordable and improve in terms of performance and durability, we expect to see this trend increase substantially.
Commercial construction is going green and it’s creating opportunities for commercial builders and contractors who are eager to meet the rising demands. From certifications to energy consumption, there has been a clear shift towards more efficient and sustainable buildings. We expect to see these trends continue to grow in the years to come.