New energy efficiency standards being implemented in the UK via the revised Part L of the Building Regulations (2013) and version four of the US green building standard LEED – implemented later this year – are expected to drive further growth in low energy building designs. However, commercial building owners are looking to go even further than the requirements of these standards in order to gain a competitive edge in the property market.

New York City now requires commercial building owners to publish energy consumption figures. This will start a trend for other US cities, making all businesses more accountable for their utility use, according to emerging technology analysts at Lux Research.  They added that building product manufacturers are also offering increased transparency through “environmental product declarations”.

Commercial building developers and architects are also using potential zero net energy designs as “a means of differentiation from competitors”, Lux added.

“While a net-zero building status once seemed impossible to obtain, it’s now becoming more common as the industry moves past LEED and Energy Star certifications that no longer offer a competitive advantage for businesses,” said the US heating and air conditioning manufacturer Lennox.

It said that greater use of natural daylighting; high efficiency HVAC; and increased local sourcing of raw materials were adding to the momentum towards more sustainable buildings across the US and worldwide.