Green Building Sails On, Despite Rough Economy

From green schools to green hospitals and even green labs, sustainable construction practices are becoming increasingly mainstream, as evidenced by the fact that the U.S. Green Building Council recently announced that it had certified over 12,000 green build projects. There are studies showing that green homes command higher prices on the real estate market, higher rents with commercial tenants, and possibly even greater revenues for banks that house themselves within buildings with a green build certification.

Now, more good news, courtesy of market researcher SBI Energy: the market for green building projects is on the up and up, despite the sluggish worldwide economy. That market, currently valued at nearly $70 billion, is anticipated to reach almost $150 billion by 2016 (and $294 billion by 2021).

image via Praxis Architects

Some harbingers of the strong growth in this industry include the fact that while non-residential buildings have the major share in the market (comprising $51 billion in 2011), green homes currently represent the fastest growing segment of green construction, with the market value of LEED certified homes jumping from $39 million in 2007 to $17.15 billion in 2011. SBI credits regulatory instruments, governmental initiatives and financial support mechanisms — as well as growing consumer awareness and expectations — in putting pressure on those in the construction industry to get on board when it comes to green building practices.

All of which is good not just for the environment, but for the economy, according to Shelley Carr, publisher of SBI Energy. “In addition to addressing environmental concerns, the development of a green construction market also has important socio-economic implications,” she said, in a statement. “It is estimated that investments in improved energy efficiency of buildings can generate an additional 2 to 3.5 million green jobs in Europe and the United States alone.”

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.