Green building will continue to grow globally, particularly in Europe, North America and fast-growing countries in the Middle East, South America, and the Asia-Pacific region. Every year, many government agencies, property managers, corporate real estate managers, and universities strive to incorporate green design ideas when renovating old structures or building new ones.
So if you thought green office cleaning marks the end of this revolution, you thought wrong. According to a study by Dodge Data and Analytics in partnership with USGBC, construction companies expect to build 60% more green buildings by 2021.
That’s why it’s worth knowing these six trends that will continue dominating the industry in the next few years.
Energy-efficient green construction retrofits have experienced more growth than energy-efficient new buildings. This trend has been greatly witnessed in the commercial and corporate real estate, and also in universities, hospitals, municipal, and schools.
The emergence of cheap capital and energy service companies have played a big role in encouraging building owners to upgrade their appliances to energy saving ones or modernize their buildings.
With the introduction of energy rating systems tailored for both new and refurbished buildings, the opportunities in energy efficiency are enormous. Most building owners will probably want to conduct an energy audit before deciding to go green, and most of them will make the switch.
Indoor Air Quality
Concerns about poor indoor air quality from volatile organic compounds can no longer be written off as insignificant. Several studies continue to show the adverse effects of poor indoor air quality on employee productivity.
The most startling discovery revealed that indoor environments that can improve cognitive function of employees can be realized at an energy cost of $14 – $40 per person annually. This can result in high productivity of nearly $6,500.
Employers care about employee productivity and well-being. They now have compelling reasons to inquire about indoor air quality before leasing any office or building, and architects also have a tool to show to building owners that better air quality enhances property values.
Material Used In Construction
For many years, architects struggled to determine which materials are dangerous to occupants and people installing and disposing of them. This is because most manufacturers are reluctant to share secrets, and what they often disclose about their products may not be accurate.
Furthermore, mutual agreements on what products are hazardous do not seem to exist as design firms, trade groups and certification agencies seem to read from the different database of materials. But that’s changing as critical mass disclosure seems to start.
Various tools that make material transparency more practical are emerging and manufacturers are now seeing the benefit of responding to growing demands from their customers.
Solar power generation has grown exponentially worldwide. Over the last five years, solar power production has quintupled in the U.S because cells are becoming more efficient and the cost of manufacturing continues to reduce.
That has created high expectations among building owners, policy makers, customers, and built environment decision makers, something which will continue to push for the use of solar power. In fact, giant corporations and over 150 American cities have committed to switching to renewable energy.
Moreover, architects, school systems and engineers have become vested in achieving net-zero buildings. In fact, the U.S Energy Information Agency (EPA) estimates that solar power projects will grow by over 13% in the next few years.
Resilience In Infrastructure Planning
Hurricanes and forest fires continue to pose serious threats to homeowners. Even those who doubted climate change had a change in heart after witnessing the forest fire devastation in California. Most people now want measures taken to make buildings more resilient to minimize the risk of damages.
Public resources are now being channeled toward planning and constructing infrastructures and building that can adapt or withstand disasters. And more customers yearn for a certification platform based on resilience.
Awareness of the imminent calamity in fresh water supply in many countries around the world will surge as climate change continues to negatively impact rainfall and water supply systems. In the U.S for instance, the drought experienced in California between 2014 and 2015 increased the awareness of water concerns to national attention.
The heightened concern on water supply in the future is pushing many building designers to consider innovative ways to reduce water consumption by using:
- Water conserving fixtures
- Planting native vegetation or ornamental
- Installing rainwater recovery systems
- Installing efficient cooling towers
These are just a few trends that will push and transform green homes now and in the future. What do you think? Share your opinions and observations in the comment section below.