In many of the leading construction markets, the market for sustainable construction is expanding rapidly. This standard started in the mid 2000’s with the introduction of the LEED certification for buildings. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and was developed by the United States Green Building Council. This standard has started to transform the construction industry and is now taking off elsewhere in the world as well.
The benefits and opportunities green construction provided were realized by larger clients and in order to stay competitive, many contractors had to become LEED certified. Many benefits for an economy can be realized using green construction. Operating costs for businesses are reduced due to decreased energy consumption, and multiple jobs and revenue sources are created. From 2000 through 2008, green construction generated $173 billion in economic activity and supported 2.4 million jobs; the LEED building standard generated $830 million in economic activity and 15,000 jobs. This boom in green construction is improving the environment, and creating jobs – a win, win in anyone’s book.
The processes used to construct a green building vary. Using different roofing tiles, implementing water heating instead of air heating, and growing gardens on roofs are only scratching the surface of green construction techniques. An example of another method includes Calera Corp, a company who produces cement globally and creates two and a half billion tons of carbon dioxide annually. A new process by Calera absorbs half a ton of harmful greenhouse gases for each ton of cement produced. And fresh water is created as a by-product. Additionally, if cement factories were placed next to coal-fired power plants, they could absorb the power plants carbon as raw material.
Geographically speaking, more green construction projects are being executed in the United States, but more countries are becoming involved. Dow Corning is getting involved with these projects in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. In the last five years, 50 states and seven countries (India, China, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Spain, and Sri Lanka) have taken part in 2,000 LEED certified building projects. Green building is revolutionizing the way builders around the world design construction projects. The health of our planet and communities demands that we push markets to continue to innovate these sustainable options for construction.