Consultant Lists Top 10 Green Building Trends for 2010

Green building will continue to grow in spite of the global credit crisis and the ongoing economic recession in most countries, according to Jerry Yudelson, principal of Tucson, Ariz.-based green building consulting company, Yudelson Associates.

“What we’re seeing is that more people are going green each year, and there is nothing on the horizon that will stop this trend,” Yudelson explained. “In putting together my Top Ten trends for 2010, I’m taking advantage of conversations I’ve had with green building industry leaders in the U.S., Canada, Germany and Australia as I have traveled the world over the past year.”

Top Ten Green Building Trends

1. Green building will continue to grow more than 60 percent in 2010, using new LEED project registrations as a proxy, on a cumulative basis. “We’ve seen cumulative growth in new LEED projects over 60 percent per year since 2006, in fact 80 percent in 2009, and there’s no sign that the green wave has crested,” he said.

2. Green building will benefit from the Obama presidency and the strongly Democratic Congress, with a continued focus on green jobs gained by applying incentives energy efficiency, new green technologies and renewable energy.

3. The focus of the green building industry will continue to switch from new buildings to greening existing buildings. “The fastest growing LEED rating system in 2009 was the LEED for Existing Buildings program, and I expect this trend to continue in 2010,” said Yudelson. My 2009 book, Greening Existing Buildings, documents the strategic components of this trend.

4. Awareness of the coming global crisis in fresh water supply will increase, leading building designers and managers to take further steps to reduce water consumption in buildings with more conserving fixtures, rainwater recovery systems and innovative new water technologies.

5. The green building movement will go global, as more countries begin to create their own green building incentives and developing their own Green Building Councils. More than 30 countries, on all continents, will show considerable green building growth in 2010.

6. Solar power use in buildings will accelerate with the prospect of increasing utility focus on state-level renewable power standards for 2015 and 2020. As before, third-party financing partnerships will continue to grow and provide capital for large rooftop systems.

7. Local governments will step up their mandates for green buildings for both themselves and the private sector. We’ll see at least 20 major new cities with commercial sector green building mandates. The desire to reduce carbon emissions by going green will lead more government agencies to require green buildings.

8. Zero-net-energy designs for new buildings become increasingly commonplace, in both residential and commercial sectors, as LEED and Energy Star ratings become too common to confer competitive advantage.

9. The retail sector will embrace green building, especially green operations. "More retailers are becoming conscious of the need for both operational green measures and greening the supply chain.”

10. European green building technologies will become better known and more widely adopted in the U.S. and Canada.

Yudelson is the author of 11 green building books and served as Research Scholar for Real Estate Sustainability for the International Council of Shopping Centers, a 70,000-member international trade organization.

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