A recent report based on studies and conversation between green building industry leaders in the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australia shows that green building will continue its rapid expansion globally in 2014.
The report, published by American green building industry leader Jerry Yudelson, includes a list of major green building trends likely to affect the industry in the coming year. The predictions are based on his experience as the founder of the green building consultancy Yudelson Associates and on recent conversations that he has had with green building industry leaders from all around the world.
According to Yudelson's findings, the green building trend will continue its strong growth in 2014, with the ongoing expansion of commercial real estate construction together with government, university, non-profit and school construction. This forecast is based on the data that in 2013, project registrations in new green building construction accounted for about 30 per cent of all new projects in the US, while in Australia, Green Star-rated buildings accounted for 20 per cent of the office market.
Another trend is the growing focus on energy efficiency in all kinds of buildings, including the increasing role of building automation for energy efficiency using cloud-based systems.
"The convergence of corporate and commercial real estate, information technology that is based in the Cloud, and energy efficiency leads my list of new green building megatrends for 2014," Yudelson said.
According to the report, there will be a rapid uptake of energy efficient green building retrofits, especially in the corporate and commercial real estate fields. Projects such as schools, universities and hospitals are expected to follow suit given the availability of inexpensive financing and the rise of numerous new players in the building energy retrofit market.
The number of Zero-net-energy buildings is also growing in both the residential and commercial sectors. Energy efficiency certifications and labels such as ENERGY STAR have become too commonplace to represent a competitive advantage among buyers and building owners. As a consequence, developers of speculative commercial buildings have also begun to showcase zero net energy designs in order to gain marketplace benefits.
Next year, Yudelson said, energy efficiency certifications will attract competitors as never before.
"It's likely that LEED's cost and complexity will open up the market to other competitors such as the Green Globes rating system offered by the Green Building Initiative," he said.
He credits recent moves by the Obama administration for this trend, as those policies have put the Green Globes system on equal footing with LEED for federal projects.
The report also predicts the focus of the green building industry will continue its switch from certifying new building design and construction to full greening of existing buildings. While this trend has been in place since 2010, it is expected to accelerate in 2014. New green policies are being released in Australia such as the recent Sydney’s green roofs and walls policy, which encourages residents and businesses to green both new and existing buildings.
Yudelson predicts that solar power use in buildings will continue to grow. It is expected that third-party financing offerings will continue to increase and provide capital for larger rooftop systems on low-rise commercial buildings, parking garages, warehouses, retail stores and houses.
Finally, the report says awareness of the coming crisis in the supply of fresh water will increase as the global climate change affects rainfall and water supply systems worldwide. To reduce water consumption in buildings, more conservation fixtures, rainwater recovery systems and innovative new onsite water technologies will be applied.
“There is no doubt that we are seeing more agencies, architectural firms, development organizations and companies building green each year, and there is nothing on the horizon that will stop this trend,” Yudelson said.