Green sustainability practices have hit mainstream status across the world. The commercial construction industry is not exempt from this trend. As of November 2020, the size of the U.S. Green Building Market is $81 billion (per Statista).
Client and market demands have been a major driver of this movement for commercial construction boing green, and as the general population has adopted a sense of priority towards sustainability, both the public and private sectors are driven to enact policies to set us down the road towards this future. In Colorado, state and local governments have placed requirements on state-funded public building construction and renovations. In the private sector, companies such as REI, Columbia, and Kohl’s have announced a commitment to long-term sustainability, building future locations using green practices and working towards renovating existing locations to follow suit.
But what are some of these trends that make up green and sustainable commercial construction?
Green Building Materials
One major component to green building that is rapidly growing as the technology improves is using green building materials. Green building materials are defined as materials made from renewable resources that are manufactured using environmentally friendly processes, made from recycled content, and are recyclable at the end of their lifecycle. The material at the core of this movement is mass timber. This includes laminated veneer lumber, cross-laminated timber, and laminated strand lumber. The CO2 emissions produced by manufacturing these materials are a fraction of those created by producing concrete and steel. Additionally, these materials provide completely self-sustaining and renewable building material, if sourced responsibly.
Probably the most popular of any aspect of green construction is the renewable energy movement. Solar, wind, and geothermal energy are rapidly growing as primary energy sources for many residential and commercial buildings around the world. More and more commercial buildings are having their roofing systems lined with solar panels, to the point where it is becoming the norm in cities like Denver. Additionally, many companies including Tesla are bringing solar shingles to the market to provide the energy benefits of solar panels, while maintaining the appearance and function of standard roof shingles.
Building Certification Programs
While LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) has been around since 1998, there historically haven’t been many recognized certification programs with green practices in mind. However, over the last decade, the number of recognized programs has ballooned to over 30,000. With a stringent list of standards to receive certification, these programs have been a driver of green practices as consumer attention on said certifications has grown. Additionally, systems such as the IgCC (International Green Construction Code) have been adopted as mandatory in many major cities in the US.
As we round the corner on kicking off the new decade, these programs and practices will only continue to grow. The benefits of adopting them have become too great to ignore, and the curbed environmental impact of our cities will continue to benefit us all in the long run. Plus, the mass influx of funding for these practices have created many jobs and created new sectors of the construction industry altogether.
Want to see how you can start making your property more green? Contact A-Line Contractors today.