The Future of Green Building is Bright in 2014: New Top 10 MegaTrends

Green building consultant, speaker & author, Jerry Yudelson has announced his annual list of major green building trends that will affect the industry in 2014 and beyond.

Credit to: Yudelson Associates

YUDELSON ASSOCIATES JERRY YUDELSON

Photo: © Yudelson Associates

What are the major trends likely to affect the green building industry and markets in the US in 2014? As one of the world’s leading green building consultants, keynote speakers and authors, Jerry Yudelson thinks he knows the answers. In fact, his Top 10 list of green building megatrends has become an annual event.

At the top of Yudelson’s 2014 list is the prediction that Green building in North America will continue its strong growth in 2014, with the ongoing expansion of commercial real estate construction together with government, university, nonprofit and school construction. “Green building is the tsunami of the future that will inundate the entire real estate industry,” says Yudelson.

The second megatrend on Yudelson’s list 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. Yudelson said, “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.”

The third megatrend is the design and operation of zero-net-energy buildings. Yudelson says, “We know that green building has hit the mainstream. To distinguish themselves, many building owners and developers are taking the logical next step: getting to zero net energy on an annual basis; Why? The most widespread reason is that more people than ever believe it’s the right thing to do.”

Yudelson Associates’ Top Ten Green Building MegaTrends for 2014

  1. Green building in North America continue its strong growth in 2014, with the ongoing expansion of commercial real estate construction together with government, university, nonprofit and school construction. This will build on the fact that in 2013 green building project registrations in new construction accounted for about 30% of all new projects.
  2. In 2014, there will be rapid uptake of energy-efficiency green building retrofits.. Note: this trend will be strongest in corporate and commercial real estate, along with the “MUSH” market (Municipal, University, School and Hospital) projects, given the availability of cheap financing and the rise of numerous new players in the building energy retrofit market. Jerry Yudelson’s recent book, The World’s Greenest Buildings: Promise vs. Performance in Sustainable Design, makes a persuasive case that absolute building performance, and resultant operating cost, (vs. the relative improvement approach still enshrined in most rating systems) is going to be an increasing focus for building owners.
  3. Zero-net-energy buildings are become increasingly commonplace, in both residential and commercial sectors. LEED and ENERGY STAR certifications and labels have become too commonplace to confer competitive advantage among building owners. Developers of speculative commercial buildings have also begun to showcase Zero Net Energy designs in order to gain marketplace advantages. Systems such as the Net-Zero Certification of the International Living Building Institute are driving this trend, but it has been growing steadily for about five years.
  4. LEED will see enhanced competition from Green Globes. This trend is supported by the fact that the Federal government has released its “once every five years” assessment of rating systems and has now put the two systems on an equal footing for government projects. More importantly, LEED will struggle to convince owners, designers and consultants in all sectors that LEED v4 represents more value than hassle.
  5. The focus of the green building industry will continue its switch from certifying new building design and construction to full greening of existing buildings. This trend has been in place since 2010, and we expect it to accelerate in 2014. Jerry Yudelson’s green building book, Greening Existing Buildings, documents the strategic and tactical components of this trend.
  6. Green Buildings will increasingly be managed by information technologies, especially those in the “Cloud.” This trend is reflected by the large number of new entrants and new products in fields of building automation, facility management, wireless controls and building services information management over the last three years. In fact, we are calling 2014, “The Year of the Cloud” for how quickly this trend will become fully established.
  7. Green Building Performance Disclosure will continue as a major trend. This is highlighted by disclosure requirements enacted in 2013 by more than 30 major cities around the country, laws that require commercial building owners to disclose actual green building performance to all new tenants and buyers and, in some places, to the public. This trend will spread rapidly as the easiest way to monitor reductions in carbon emissions from commercial and governmental buildings.
  8. Healthy Building Products, Product Disclosure Declarations, along with various “Red Lists” of chemicals of concern’ to healthy building advocates, will become increasingly contentious. This trend has manifested through such tools as the Health Product Declaration and the inclusion of points for avoiding certain chemicals contained in LEEDv4, currently scheduled for full implementation in 2015. We predict that building product manufacturers will increasingly try to gain or maintain market share based on open disclosure of chemicals of concerns. We also foresee that industry-developed disclosure systems will begin to compete with systems offered by dozens of third-party rating agencies.
  9. Solar power use in buildings will continue to grow, especially because of the prospect of increasing focus on implementing aggressive state-level renewable power standards (RPS) for 2020 and the move toward zero-net-energy buildings. As before, third-party financing partnerships will continue to grow and provide capital for larger rooftop systems on low-rise commercial buildings, parking garages, warehouses and retail stores, as well as on homes.
  10. Awareness of the coming crisis in fresh water supply, both globally and in the U.S., will increase as global climate change affects rainfall and water supply systems worldwide. Leading building designers, owners and managers will be moved to take further steps to reduce water consumption in buildings by using more conserving fixtures, rainwater recovery systems and innovative new onsite water technologies. Yudelson’s 2010 recent water conservation book, Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis, shows how this is being done in green buildings all over the developed world.

 

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