What is this energy efficiency and green building thing about?
Energy efficient and high performance green buildings are quickly becoming the standard for new and renovated buildings. Traditionally-built homes and office buildings account for 40% of the world’s total energy consumption and approximately 40% of our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, by incorporating energy efficient and green technology into buildings you can reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions per building up to 70%. Buildings that are considered “green” are defined by McGraw-Hill Construction as, “one built to LEED standards, an equivalent green building certification program, or one that incorporates numerous green building elements across five category areas: energy efficiency, water efficiency, resource efficiency, responsible site management and improved indoor air quality.”
According to a study by McGraw-Hill Construction, in 2011, green buildings in residential areas made up 17% of new construction, totaling $17 billion in economic growth. This survey also concluded that the value of the green building market is expected to grow up to 38% of the market by 2016, with new construction projects making $87–114 billion of economic growth in the construction industry. Not only are green homes swiftly becoming the leading project in new construction, but 46% of homebuilders say that green design services makes it easier to receive new contracts, and 71% of contractors that exclusively build green homes claim that offering green services gives them a lead in the construction market.
Working towards the goal of reducing our buildings environmental footprint is becoming easier each year. McGraw Hill reports that the cost to build or retrofit a green home is now 7% less than what it was in 2008 and 11% less than in 2006. The study also showed that by 2016, 90% of homes will have green technology incorporated into the construction process. Indeed, the shift towards green homes is already in progress. In 2011, green retrofits of buildings surpassed new construction projects, and over 1/3 of the construction and building industry (661,000 people) say that they have a “green” job.
By promoting sustainable architecture and retrofitting current homes to make them high performance green buildings, we reduce our overall carbon footprint and improve our quality of life in an economical and environmentally friendly way.