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10 for 10: Consultant Publishes List of Top Green-Building Trends

Feb. 1, 2010
Jerry Yudelson, widely acknowledged as one of the nation's leading green-building and sustainability consultants, says green building will continue to

Jerry Yudelson, widely acknowledged as one of the nation's leading green-building and sustainability consultants, says green building will continue to grow despite the global credit crisis and the economic recession affecting most countries.

In his annual list of top 10 green-building trends, the founder of Tucson, Ariz.-based Yudelson Associates, an international sustainability-planning and green-building-consulting firm, says green building will grow more than 60 percent in 2010, using new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System project registrations as a proxy.

“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,” Yudelson, who has written 11 books on green building and spoken on green-building topics around the world, including at HPAC Engineering's Engineering Green Buildings Conference and Expo, says.

Following is the remainder of Yudelson's list of top 10 green-building trends for 2010, gleaned, he says, from conversations with green-building-industry leaders in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Australia:

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 for energy efficiency, new green technologies, and renewable energy.

3) The focus of the green-building industry will continue to shift from new buildings to existing ones.

“The fastest-growing LEED rating system in 2009 was the LEED for Existing Buildings program, and I expect this trend to continue in 2010,” Yudelson says.

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 better-conserving fixtures, rainwater-recovery systems, and new water technologies.

5) The green-building movement will go global, as more countries create green-building incentives and develop green-building councils. More than 30 countries on all continents will show considerable green-building growth in 2010.

6) Solar-power use will accelerate, with the prospect of increased focus on state-level renewable-power standards for 2015 and 2020. Third-party financing will continue to grow, providing capital for large rooftop systems.

7) Local governments will step up mandates for green buildings for themselves and the private sector.

“We'll see at least 20 major new cities with commercial-sector green-building mandates,” Yudelson says. “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 residential and commercial buildings will become increasingly widespread, as LEED and Energy Star ratings become too common to confer competitive advantage.

9) The retail sector will embrace green building, especially green operations.

“I call this trend, ‘Shop green ‘til you drop,’” Yudelson, who served as research scholar for real-estate sustainability for the International Council of Shopping Centers, says. “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 United States and Canada, which Yudelson attributes in part to an increasing number of European architects and engineers who are opening offices in the United States.

A bonus trend for 2010, Yudelson says, is campus sustainability plans and actions becoming the “defining trend in higher education, as more than 800 leading educational institutions race to embrace a thorough response to climate change.”