Turner Construction Co., the New York-based building-services provider, recently announced the results of Green Building Market Barometer 2012, its biennial survey of industry executives on green-building issues.
Brightening Outlook for Construction Projects
Sixty-four percent of real-estate owners, developers, and corporate owner occupants said they expect to undertake new construction projects over the next 12 months (up from 46 percent in 2010), while 71 percent said they expect to undertake renovation projects over the same period (up from 58 percent in 2010).
Widespread Commitment to Sustainable Practices
Ninety percent of respondents said their companies are committed to environmentally sustainable practices. Of those respondents, 56 percent said their companies are extremely or very committed, while 34 percent said their companies are somewhat committed. In explaining their companies’ commitment to following sustainable practices, respondents cited as extremely or very important the belief “it’s the ‘right thing to do’” (68 percent), impact on brand/reputation (67 percent), cost savings (66 percent), and customer requirements (61 percent).
Reduced Energy Costs and Operating Expenses Are the Key Drivers of Green Construction
Respondents said energy efficiency (84 percent) and ongoing operations and maintenance costs (84 percent) are extremely or very important to their decisions to incorporate green features into construction projects.
More than two-thirds of respondents said non-financial factors, such as indoor-air quality (74 percent), health and well-being of occupants (74 percent), satisfaction of employees/occupants (69 percent), and employee productivity (67 percent), are extremely or very important. However, only 37 percent said minimizing the carbon footprint of their buildings is extremely or very important to their companies.
More than half of the respondents said their companies would be extremely or very likely to invest in improved indoor environmental quality (63 percent), improved water efficiency (57 percent), and green materials (53 percent), if they were undertaking a construction project.
Fewer Companies Plan to Seek LEED Certification
Although the vast majority of companies remain committed to green building, the percentage of respondents who said it is extremely or very likely that their company would seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council if they constructed a green building was 48 percent, down from 53 percent in 2010 and 61 percent in 2008. The leading reasons for not seeking LEED certification were the cost of the certification process (82 percent), the amount of staff time required (79 percent), the time required for the process (75 percent), and perceived difficulty of the process (74 percent).
Forty-one percent of respondents said it is at least somewhat likely their companies would consider seeking certification under a rating system other than LEED, if they constructed a green building. Of those, 63 percent said they would be extremely or very likely to consider seeking certification under ENERGY STAR, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Concerns About Construction Costs and Payback-Period Length Persist
When asked what length of payback period would be acceptable when considering green features, 44 percent of respondents said five years, while nearly 80 percent said five years or longer. Despite this acceptance of an extended payback period, 61 percent of respondents said length of payback period is an extremely or very significant obstacle to the construction of green buildings, while 62 percent cited higher construction costs.