Green companies – and their green products – are everywhere. From Starbucks’ sustainability report toJessica Alba’s eco-friendly diapers, the international consumer conversation focuses heavily on “what’s good for the environment.”
In the building industry, green construction celebrates a long history. Decades before LEED Version 1.0 was launched at the USGBC 1998 Membership Summit, industry leaders had their eyes on the environment.
Sim Van der Ryn, once referred to as the Albus Dumbledore of green architecture, has been creating sustainable structures for almost half a century. Van der Ryn is one of several architects and designers who pioneered innovative design solutions that focused on human needs while being sensitive to the environment.
Today, green buildings and eco-friendly renovations are at the forefront of the design and construction industry. And while many people are motivated by their passion for the environment, others are driven to “go green” by the extensive benefits provided by sustainable structures, including:
- Saving energy – A recent Government Services Administration Study found that green buildings use 25% less energy and 11% less water than standard federal buildings.
- Earning competitive incomes – A recent report published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, called Careers in Green Construction, shows strong trends for national green construction job growth with highly competitive wages and salaries.
- Increasing property value – A study of green buildings in the U.S. and Canada found that a “green” designation can increase a building’s market value.
- Raising productivity – According to the Natural Resource Defense Council , eco-friendly amenities that make a building a healthier and more comfortable work place can reduce employee absenteeism and turnover while increasing productivity.
- Receiving financial rewards and staying under budget – Numerous sources offunding for green building are available at the national, state and local levels for homeowners, industry builders, government organizations and nonprofits organization.
And many green products and materials cost the same or even less than conventional ones while offering energy benefits that provide significant financial savings. So whether the motivation is people, planet or profit, it’s clear that sustainable efforts have a measurable benefit in the international building industry.