us construction improves

A new report by McGraw-Hill Construction suggests that the green building in the U.S. is stronger than ever, with the value of all green construction projects increasing from $10 billion in 2005 to a whopping $78 billion in 2011.

With 2012 drawing to a close, McGraw-Hill estimates the green building market will wind up being worth $85 billion over the calendar year and could jump as high as $248 billion by the year 2016.

McGraw-Hill’s 2013 Dodge Construction Green Outlook paints a rosy picture for the sector, suggesting its growth will explode, with a 2013 outlook ranging from $98 billion to $106 billion in residential and non-residential construction.

While the U.S. economy has been slow to pick up following the global financial crisis, green building – boosted by government initiatives – is showing incredible strength.

It is expected that by 2016, more than half of all commercial and institutional construction – 55 per cent – will fall under the green umbrella. That represents a marked increase over the 44 per cent figure forecast for 2012.

The residential market is not as robust but is still experiencing growth. McGraw-Hill estimates that green building will make up 20 per cent of the residential market in 2012, a figure that is expected to jump to between 29 and 38 per cent by 2016, or an increase of $89 to $116 billion.

us construction improves

“We’re seeing tremendous growth in green building, providing a bright light in an otherwise uncertain economy,” said McGraw-Hill Construction vice president of industry insights and alliances Harvey M. Bernstein. “Not only does this mean a strong outlook for green building, but also the benefits that go along with that: more jobs, greater financial benefits from green and high performance buildings, stronger competitive positioning for those firms that build green, and healthier work and learning environments for our population.”

Green office construction projects are expected to clock in at 54 per cent of the total office construction market in 2012, making it the leading market in terms of green construction. That bodes well given that office construction is expected to experience strong growth of its own in the coming years.

To qualify as green, a building must be built to LEED or equivalent standards or be energy and water efficient while addressing indoor environmental quality, resource efficiency, or both.

The report also suggests that:

  • Health-related green building labels are growing faster than any other aspect of the green building sector.
  • By 2016, an estimated one-third of all U.S. home builders in the U.S. expect to be fully build exclusively to green specifications.
  • The growing green building market is fostering employment with some 35 per cent of workers currently having green jobs.
  • Some 81 per cent of American corporate leaders feel compelled to engage in sustainability due at least in part to public expectations. Nearly a third (30 per cent) of senior executive officers are currently committed to greening at least two-thirds of their companies’ buildings and nearly half (47 per cent) expect they will do so by 2015.
By Mark Schafer