In the tradition of the Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World annual summary, Greener World Media producers of GreenBiz.com (among other websites), last month released their first annual State of Green Business 2008 Report. Joel Makower and his team of editors examined multiple categories in the green business arena from alternative energy vehicles to toxic emissions to determine the true state of green progress. Although the report provides a mixed review, green building was identified as one of the more tangible signs of forward progress. This is especially important given the downturn in the construction economy.
According to the report, the “green [building] market, [expanding] for years, began soaring in 2007, as several marquee projects opened their doors and some big-time initiatives were born.”
The report cites the Clinton Presidential Library (LEED Platinum rating), the New York Times Tower (Gold rating), and the U.S. Federal Building in San Francisco, among others as notable steps forward. Although not mentioned, San Francisco’s Academy of Sciences’ new building is an important showcase project here on the West Coast.
For those of us involved in the industry, this is nothing new. We’ve been talking about the rapid adoption of green building for years. The report cites an interesting statistic from a survey conducted by CoreNet Global and Jones Lang LaSalle: "nearly 80 percent of workplace and corporate real estate executives say being more environmentally sustainable is a major issue for today’s businesses, and they are willing to pay a premium to achieve it."
It’s great that the report points out that the (alleged) price premium for green building is shrinking, reducing one of the few remaining barriers to the industry’s growth and acknowledges that the premium is often overestimated. It identifies several industry initiatives that have promised to give a further push to green building practices including the Clinton Climate Initiative that will enable its purchasing consortium to offer cheaper environmentally friendly products to over 1,100 U.S. cities. The Initiative’s Large Buildings Retrofit Program will also help reduce energy use and begin curbing greenhouse gas emissions around the globe.
The report concludes that 2007 may "go down as the year that green buildings became a cornerstone of a global strategy to address global warming."
Yep, that’s our profession, saving the rest of the world from the perils of global climate change. It’s all in a day’s work.