Green building market grows 50 per cent in two years despite recession, says McGraw-Hill Construction Report

The U.S. green building market is accelerating at a dramatic rate, says McGraw-Hill Construction’s Green Outlook 2011: Green Trends Driving Growth report. The value of green building construction starts was up 50 per cent from 2008 to 2010- from $42 billion to $55 billion-$71 billion- and represents 25 per cent of all new construction activity in 2010. According to projections, the green building market size is expected to reach $135 billion by 2015.

Green building is the bright spot in an otherwise tough economy, and in some sectors, that rate of growth has been remarkable. In non-residential building, for example, the green building market share is even higher than the overall market. Today, a third of all new non-residential construction is green- a $54 billion market opportunity. In five years, non-residential green building activity is expected to triple, representing $120 billion to $145 billion in new construction (40 per cent-48 per cent of the non-residential market) and $14 billion to $18 billion in major retrofit and renovation projects.

To break it down further, health care construction this year is expected to grow its green share to as much as 40 per cent (valued at $8 billion-$9 billion in 2010)- phenomenal growth in just two years. Education (valued at $13 billion-$16 billion in 2010) and office green construction (valued at $7 billion-$8 billion in 2010) also remain strong sectors, showing high increases in market share, due in part to the fact that bigger projects are the most likely to “go green.” This year, the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED specification is mentioned in 71 per cent of all projects valued at over $50 million.

“It’s an amazing area of opportunity at time when the construction market is extremely challenged,” said Harvey M. Bernstein, vice president, Global Thought Leadership and Business Development, McGraw-Hill Construction. “In today’s economy, firms that specialize in green or serve this market are seeing a tremendous advantage- and they’re doing good at the same time. Green building leads to healthier places for us to live and work in, lower energy and water use, and better profitability.”

Aside from market size estimates, the 32-page Green Outlook 2011 report provides insights into key trends, perceptions and motivators in the green building space. For example, building owners cited three business benefits as the main drivers for building green:

  • Reduction in operating costs of 13.6 per cent on average for new buildings and 8.5 per cent for retrofits;
  • Increase in building values of 10.9 per cent for new buildings and 6.8 per cent for retrofits; and
  • Increase in return on investment (ROI) of 9.9 per cent for new buildings and 19.2 per cent for retrofits.

Beyond these bottom-line advantages, McGraw-Hill Construction attributes green building’s rapid expansion to owners’ desire for market differentiation, growing public awareness, and an increase in local and federal government regulations. As of September 2010, green building legislation and initiatives were present in 12 federal agencies and 33 states, and the proliferation of local government initiatives have increased at an especially impressive pace- from 156 localities in 2008 to 384 localities in 2010.

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