Green Building Trends of 2012
The concept of green building or sustainable design has gained momentum in recent years due to a combination of environmental and economic pressures that are compelling building owners to consider green and energy efficient design, technologies, and approaches as a necessity, not as a luxury. Monetary incentives offered by government and utilities provide further impetus for businesses to become more eco-friendly and integrate these technologies and concepts for energy efficient building systems in both new and retrofit construction.
As building efficiency trends continue to gain momentum in 2012, facility owners and building managers everywhere are searching for ways to not only build new facilities, but also modernize existing structures to maximize their investments, while still providing safe, productive, and flexible structures. Emerging technologies are appearing regularly, which is expanding the ability for owners to increase efficiency while also improving their physical environments. As these new technologies mature and are refined, their first cost is reduced, and the economic reasons to move forward with these ideas become more acceptable and financially viable. Brandt Companies are at the forefront of these trends as a company that specializes in the development, design, and construction of sustainable, energy efficient buildings.
Green Building Systems on a Budget
One of the greatest challenges in embarking on a green building project is figuring out how to do it on a realistic budget and to overcome the stigma that green must mean expensive. As everyone becomes more acclimated to the idea that “green living” is a necessity, not an option, construction and design companies are trending toward developing products, services, and approaches that make “green buildings on a budget” a reality without sacrificing quality in the process.
- LEED-EBOM. LEED for Existing Buildings, Operations & Maintenance is an extension of the LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design) program that deals specifically with retrofitting existing buildings to energy efficient and eco-friendly designs. Since most of the construction in North America these days involves the reclamation and renovation of older building stock due to the glut of over-built real estate, the LEED-EBOM process is a great place to start in considering a process and framework for your building project.
- Evolution. Technologies continue to evolve, and this maturation results in new technologies becoming the norm and the resultant cost being reduced to a point that it makes application economically feasible. For example, although the solar industry and associated technologies remain costly and the incentives and rebates are inconsistent at best, increased quality and effectiveness of the technologies coming to the market is beginning to make this application a real and valuable option to consider when designing energy efficient projects for long term investments. Other “exotic” products and technologies that might make no sense now to install will become mainstream in a few years due to efficiency in manufacturing, reduced cost on installation, and other factors that will positively influence the cost/benefit equation. Therefore, building owners must remain vigilant to what is happening on the cost/application front and regularly consult with trusted companies who are at the forefront of these issues
- Incentives. In some situations, building owners are not only incentivized to consider energy efficient designs and products, but are actually mandated to do so and penalized if they don’t comply. For these reasons alone, the cost of inaction might actually outweigh the relative cost on making the move toward more efficient and sustainable designs and installations, thus budgetary concerns involving first cost are mitigated.
- Cost effectiveness. Significant progress has been made in the field of financing and amortizing savings for energy projects based on a performance contracting model, and the ability to develop a combination capital/operations budget is becoming increasingly more flexible. With record low interest rates, advantageous incentives, and a widening menu of cost effective technologies available, the ability for building owners to proactively and effectively develop budget-conscious energy programs has improved dramatically.
2012 is poised to be a year of continued growth for the green building market, due largely to unstable fuel cost and supplies, the uneasiness of global supply, continued wild swings in weather, and increased availability of effective technologies that are becoming more affordable. Green buildings are here to stay, and it is therefore incumbent upon facility owners and managers, together with the design and construction industries, to maintain and improve sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives and to act on the opportunities that more and more viable. For over 60 years, Brandt Companies has provided sustainable, energy efficient building solutions to building owners who have quality and innovation as primary requirements of their facilities. For more information about our energy efficient building systems, contact Brandt Companies at our website.
Tags: green building