Looking forward to trends in construction, many project owners, contractors and design professionals will be considering building green to "stay in the black," according to expected trends released by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The overall green building market is expected to more than double from $36-49 billion in 2009 to $96-140 billion by 2013, and it is expected that approximately 20% - 25% of all nonresidential construction starts by 2013 will be green.
The USGBC administers the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building rating system, which is a benchmark for green buildings and construction. The system addresses five major areas of building performance: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality, and assigns rating of certified, silver, gold and platinum. In Pittsburgh, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center (Gold), the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh (Silver) and the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Welcome Center (Silver), and other Pittsburgh-areas buildings, have achieved LEED Certification. According to USGBC statistics, Pittsburgh ranks in the top ten in the nation, and Pennsylvania ranks second only to California in the number of LEED-certified buildings.
In April 2010, the Associated General Contractors of America released a plan calling for solutions, incentives and needed investment to deliver environmental improvements to the country's infrastructure, including providing tax incentives and funding research and programs, modernizing government buildings, investing in clean construction equipment, reducing construction and demolition waste, fostering recycling and reuse programs and participating in green jobs training. These recommendations not only will deliver significant environmental benefits, but also reflect the industry's acknowledgment that green building represents a substantial portion of the construction industry's future.
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