by Silvio Marcacci
Green building is growing fast in the US, and may represent more than half of all commercial and institutional construction as soon as 2016.
A new report from the US Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED in Motion: People and Progress, details green building’s exponential growth and outlines both the value of the industry and its reach into American lives.
The report is the first of three LEED in Motion summaries planned for release in 2013, and it reveals yet another key indicator that sustainability can be as much an economic boost as an environmental one.
Millions Living And Working In Green Buildings
As a snapshot in time, People and Progress finds millions of Americans benefiting from LEED projects. USGBC estimates more than 4.3 million people live and work in LEED-certified buildings every day, while more than 6.2 million people experience LEED projects every day during their daily routine.
Green building, of which LEED properties are a key subset of, represented around 44% of all commercial and institutional construction in America across 2012, and that percentage should pass 55% as early as 2016.
All this growth means jobs and profits, according to USGBC. Green building could top $140 billion in revenue with 835 million square feet of construction this year, 35% of all US construction jobs today are in green building, and industry revenue could top $248 billion by 2016.
Commercial Buildings Lead, But Residential Projects On The Upswing
USGBC’s findings echo the results of McGraw Hill Construction’s “Green Retail and Hospitality SmartMarket Report” released earlier this year, which estimated more than half of all new retail, restaurant, and hotel construction would be green building projects by 2015, boosting values anywhere from 7%-11%.
Commercial buildings have traditionally led the green building charge, but residential properties are also growing fast. USGBC finds 93,120 bedrooms in 10,174 LEED-certified single-family homes and 1,236 LEED-certified multifamily buildings. Previous market research has predicted residential green building projects could be worth up to $114 billion industry-wide by 2016.
From Novelty To Norm
This growing exposure to green buildings and sustainable design seems like it’s starting to move LEED certifications from novel to must-have. “The new LEED in Motion report reflects that incredible cross-section of people – diverse in background, geography, and vocation – who are working together to fulfill USGBC’s mission of a sustainably built environment within a generation,” said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC CEO.
Indeed, growth rates for green businesses have risen faster than conventional goods in America, and every day brings another US green building first, from the first LEED-certified National Football League stadium to the world’s largest net-zero building.