What are the major trends likely to affect the green building industry and markets in the U.S. in 2014? As one of the world's leading green building consultants, keynote speakers and authors, Jerry Yudelson thinks he knows the answers. In fact, his Top 10 list of green building megatrends has become an annual event.
At the top of Yudelson's 2014 list is the prediction that Green building in North America will continue its strong growth in 2014, with the ongoing expansion of commercial real estate construction together with government, university, nonprofit and school construction. “Green building is the tsunami of the future that will inundate the entire real estate industry,” says Yudelson.
The second trend on the list is the growing focus on energy efficiency in all kinds of buildings, including the increasing role of building automation for energy efficiency using cloud-based systems. “The convergence of corporate and commercial real estate, information technology that is based in the Cloud, and energy efficiency leads my list of new green building megatrends for 2014,” Yudelson says.
The third trend is the design and operation of zero-net-energy buildings. “We know that green building has hit the mainstream. To distinguish themselves, many building owners and developers are taking the logical next step: getting to zero net energy on an annual basis; Why? The most widespread reason is that more people than ever believe it's the right thing to do,” Yudelson says.
Rounding out Yudelson's top 10 trends for green building in 2014 are the following:
- LEED will attract competitors as never before. One reason: Recent Obama Administration actions have now put this system on a par with LEED for federal projects.
- The focus of the green building industry will continue its switch from new building design and construction to greening existing buildings. This trend has been in place since 2010. Yudelson predicts that more than 500 existing federal buildings will seek green building ratings in 2014.
- Green buildings will increasingly be designed and managed by innovative information technologies that are based in the "Cloud." In fact, Yudelson calls 2014, "The Year of the Cloud," for how quickly this trend will become fully established.
- Green building performance disclosure will continue as a major trend, highlighted by disclosure requirements enacted in 2013 by more than 30 major cities around the country, laws that require commercial building owners to disclose actual green building performance.
- Healthy building products, product disclosure declarations, along with various “Red Lists” of chemicals of concern, will become increasingly contentious, as manifested through such tools as Health product declarations.
- Solar power use in buildings will continue to grow. Yudelson expects that third-party financing offerings will continue to grow and provide capital for larger rooftop systems on low-rise commercial buildings, parking garages, warehouses and retail stores, as well as on homes.
- Yudelson says, “Awareness of the coming crisis in fresh water supply, both globally and in the U.S., will increase, as global climate change affects rainfall and water supply systems worldwide.”