As we kick off 2010, it is a good time to make some predictions on the future of green building. While these predictions anticipate a longer time horizon than just the coming year, my bet is we will see some of these trends manifest during 2010. We can also expect that some of these topics will be the subject of a lot of discussion here and elsewhere over the coming year.
- The marketplace will demand green buildings as the baseline building product. This is particularly true in markets that show signs of economic vitality where construction, redevelopment, or renovation are most likely to occur. (See for example the recent AGC article highlighted by our friend Chris Hill).
- Newly built buildings which are not designed and built using sustainable practices will struggle in the marketplace.
- The marketplace will continue to struggle independently evaluating green building information and concepts. As such, rating systems such as LEED will continue to hold significant focus in the sustainability conversation for some time.
- Energy efficiency will receive increased attention as the most important yardstick in measuring the sustainability of specific structures. (Here is an example of the discussion regarding the LEED energy debate).
- The anticipated ASHRAE green code and other code based alternatives will gain traction in comparison to LEED ratings with respect to energy efficiency (see also Chris Cheatham’s recent post on local energy regulation and energy labeling). LEED will continue to have a significant place for overall evaluation of projects; however, LEED will need to respond to energy performance concerns or risk losing attention to evaluations methods which are more focused on actual energy performance.
- Longer term investment strategies in commercial property are more in vogue leading to owners who are more interested in operational expenses. Look for increases in renovations of existing buildings focusing on improvements to energy efficiency of older buildings.
- Governmental bodies will continue to drive sustainable building as a prerequisite both through their own acquisitions and regulations. This trend will further fuel the feedback loop of the marketplace demanding green buildings.
- Look for continued tension with regards to bonding requirements of green buildings, particularly where specific green performance bonds are required (such as DC’s bond requirement which takes effect in 2012, discussed by Kevin Kaiser at Best Practices Construction Law).
Do you think these are likely to happen? Did I miss any other big ones? We are interested in your thoughts, please comment!