The green building industry is growing stronger day-after-day and traditional construction methods and materials are being discarded in favor of more environmentally-friendly options. Even construction firms now struggle to come up with different solutions to reduce their carbon footprints and the damage to the environment caused by their products. Below are the top ten practices that are being adopted in 2013.
Codes Implementation — In many areas of the country 2013 has been the year of codes as municipalities had made official and enforceable the adoption of more recent building codes which includes a new section for green buildings.
Cloud Management — Considering how fast green building automation has become available, green buildings that are being managed in the Cloud, will continue to increase due to the large amount of new products targeting building automation and facility management.
Green Building Performance Disclosure — Because of the new carbon reduction requirements in California (AB 32) and in the City of Seattle, commercial building owners are now obligated to disclose the actual green building performance to all new tenants and buyers and, in some instances, to the public.
High-efficient Buildings —The trend towards large homes over the past several years is expected to be replaced with the construction of smaller ones. Besides requiring less space and fewer materials, such structures will also have reduced energy requirements, making the heating and cooling process more efficient. Consequently, the building envelope is expected to become tighter, increasing this way, the building’s overall performance.
Water Conservation — Furthermore, the awareness related to the shortage in fresh water supply will continue to increase, mandating building designers, owners and managers to take further steps in order to reduce water consumption in buildings. The use of more efficient plumbing fixtures, rainwater recovery systems and innovative new onsite water technologies has been growing fast.
Environmental and Health Product Declarations — The new version of LEED (LEEDv4) scheduled to be released this year at Greenbuild allows certain points for projects avoiding specific chemicals. Therefore, Transparency and Red List chemicals will become increasingly a subject of dispute. Also, Environmental and Health Product Declarations will continue to increase as building product manufacturers will do their best to try to gain or maintain market share, now based on open disclosure of its chemical ingredients.
Solar power — Given that many municipalities are aiming for net-zero buildings by 2030, the use of solar power among other renewable sources of energy continues to grow as well as third-party financing partnerships that will provide capital for large rooftop systems on warehouses and retail stores, as well as on homes.
Carbon Reduction — As the desire for net-zero buildings continues to grow, the reduction of carbon emissions will force more universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporate owners to require green buildings from design and construction teams.
Green Retrofit — Due to many factors, including economic ones, the construction focus has shift from new construction to retrofitting as the number of green renovations in North America continues to grow rapidly. For example in signage, retrofit LED lighting is really taking off. Furthermore, according to the USGBC, the number of LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M) has exceeded the number of new construction certifications by total floor area.
Higher Standards — After so much green washing out there, companies are starting to respect the public by raising their standards when it comes green building products and services.