Green Construction and Green Building Materials Markets Will Both Grow Next 2-5 Years, Studies Show

Claire Moloney's picture
Claire Moloney
Consultant
June 26, 2014

Reports from McGraw-Hill Construction and Freedonia report that builders expect green construction projects to replace conventional construction over the next two years.  This will spur the green building materials market, which has remained strong during the recession.

McGraw-Hill recently published the results of their World Green Building Trends Smart Market Report (2013), which polled construction companies from around the world, found that 51% of the companies believe their work will be over 60% "green" by 2014.  This is a huge increase from the previous surveys, which found that builders only thought 13% of their work would be green by 2008, and 28% by 2013.

According to Environmental Leader, McGraw-Hill attributes the expected shift toward green construction to changing views about its benefits.  In the 2008 study, the biggest motivator for green building was "doing the right thing", whereas now the biggest drivers are client and market demand.  Many industry leaders believe that sustainable construction and retrofits will reduce their operational costs, which the majority believe will decrease over the next few years, thanks to the improvements.

Growth in the American Green Building Materials Market

Similarly, a recent study from Freedonia, US Green Building Materials Market, found that green building materials, which were resilient despite the recession and lack of construction activity in recent years, will grow 11% annually through 2017, reaching $86.6 billion.  The research reveals that a combination of the rebounding construction industry, interest in achieving higher levels of LEED certification, and consumer interest in energy-saving products will spur the growth. 

In particular, the study showed that the markets for permeable pavement, ENERGY STAR-qualified HVAC systems, and recycled concrete will see larger than average gains.  Between 2002 and 2012, the solar power product market saw a good deal of growth, and it will continue to grow over the next four years, thanks to financial incentives and available renewable energy credits in LEED.

Interestingly, this study considered green building products to be any material that could contribute to a LEED project, even though those eligible products may change with the introduction of LEED v4 in mid-2013.  If anything, though, the number of products that can contribute to LEED should only increase, with the new rating systems, because it is expected to include new provisions for products certified under different organizations (like Cradle to Cradle).

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