Despite continuing economic difficulties in most developed countries, the green-building industry will rebound in 2011, green-building and sustainability consultant Jerry Yudelson said in announcing his annual list of top 10 green-building trends.
"What we're seeing is that more people are going green each year, and there is nothing on the horizon that will stop this trend," Yudelson, founder of Tucson, Ariz.-based sustainability-planning and green-building-consulting firm Yudelson Associates and author of 12 books on green building, said.
Following is Yudelson's list of top 10 green-building trends for 2011, gleaned, he said, from conversations with green-building-industry leaders in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia, where he delivered keynote addresses and gave presentations last year:
1) Worldwide, the green-building movement will continue to gain momentum, as more countries begin to create their own green-building incentives and develop their own green-building councils. More than 70 countries on all continents will show considerable green-building growth.
2) Green building will rebound in 2011, as evidenced by new LEED-project registrations.
3) The focus of the green-building industry will continue to shift from new buildings to existing ones.
4) Awareness of what Yudelson calls "the coming global crisis in fresh-water supply" will continue to grow, leading building designers and managers to take further steps to reduce water consumption.
5) Green building in the United States will continue to benefit from the Obama presidency, as evidenced by the recent announcement of a commitment to a minimum of LEED Gold for all new federal projects and major renovations.
6) Zero-net-energy designs for new buildings will become increasingly commonplace in both the residential and commercial sectors.
7) Performance disclosure will be the fastest-emerging trend, highlighted by new requirements in California and other states, where commercial-building owners will have to disclose actual building performance to all new tenants and buyers.
8) LEED-certified schools will grow rapidly in number, as understanding of the health and educational benefits of green schools grows.
9) Local and state governments will intensify their mandates for green buildings for both the public and private sectors. At least 20 major cities will develop commercial-sector green-building mandates.
10) Solar-power use will continue to grow, as municipal utilities need to comply with state-level renewable-power standards for 2015 and 2020. Third-party financing partnerships will flourish, providing capital for large rooftop systems. We may, however, see a slowing of large solar and wind systems, as federal-grant support in lieu of tax credits is phased out.
Yudelson added two "bonus picks": "First, there will be a continually growing use of software and the Internet 'cloud' in green-building design, construction, and operations. Second, the revolution in sustainable-building materials is gaining momentum each year, one that gives higher performance at ever-lower costs."
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