According to 2021 World Green Building Trends report, of which USGBC is a contributing partner, despite the challenges of the last two years, commitments to increase green building efforts continues to remain strong. The report shows that green building continues to remain a global priority, driven by extreme events and despite rising concerns like the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2021 World Green Building Trends report highlights the various factors that are driving commitments to green building. Industry professionals surveyed cite both social and financial reasons for increasing their green building efforts with top reasons including lowering operating costs, lowering carbon emissions, reducing energy and water consumption, market demand, building healthier buildings, living up to internal corporate commitments and that it’s the “right thing to do.”
Respondents stated that they have shifted their focus on strategies to specifically address reducing energy consumption and the carbon footprint of building projects with creating net-zero/net-positive buildings as the top priority. This reflects the recognition that only by making the built environment carbon-neutral can the goal to minimize the impacts of climate change be achieved.
The findings also demonstrate a compelling business case for building green. The average reduction in operating costs for the first 12 months in a new green building is 10.5 percent and five-year costs savings are 16.9 percent. Green renovations and retrofits have even greater performance globally at 11.5 percent and 17 percent respectively. Owners also report that new and retrofit green building projects see an increase in asset value by more than 9 percent.
Additionally, the report shows how the pandemic has had an impact on the green building sector with many survey respondents saying that the ways in which the built environment can encourage or discourage the spread of airborne disease like COVID-19. Respondents noted that messaging about increasing filtered air exchange in buildings directly influenced their choice of HVAC system while social distancing impacted building design.