Green Buildings Prove Themselves Again

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, the perceived cost benefits of green building include the following: Operating costs decrease of 13.6 percent for new construction and 8.5 percent for existing buildings; Building value increases 10.9 percent for new construction and 6.8 percent for existing buildings; Occupancy increases of 6.4 percent for new construction and 2.5 percent for existing buildings; Rent increases 6.1 percent for new construction and 1 percent for existing buildings.

So, where are the opportunities ahead? As of 2010, the total U.S. building stock is approximately 275 billion square feet, of which 60 billion is commercial space.  At 1.674 billion square feet of currently LEED-certified commercial space, today’s green buildings market is chump change compared to the opportunity coming down the pike over the next 2 decades.

During normal economic times, we tear down approximately 1.75 billion square feet of buildings each year. Every year, we renovate approximately 5 billion square feet, and we build new approximately 5 billion square feet. Unless the past does not presage the future, by the year 2035, approximately three-quarters (75%) of the built environment will be either new or renovated. Talk about a historic opportunity for the architecture and building community to avoid dangerous climate change by embracing the green revolution.