Will Your Buildings Go Green?
With the new year upon us, perhaps it is time to assess the future. Green building continues to be a major interest area across the board. M2M technology helps to enable a range of connected capabilities in today’s facilities. But what does the future hold for smarter buildings?
A new list emerged at the end of 2014 that hopes to provide some insight. Jerry Yudelson is a green building consultant and founder of Yudelson Associates, www.greenbuildconsult.com, Tucson, Ariz. Yudelson’s top prediction for 2014 is that green building in North American will continue to see strong growth during the year. Specifically, commercial real estate will continue to expand, as well as government, university, nonprofit, and school construction.
Another trend Yudelson cites is a growing focus on energy efficiency. This goes for buildings of all types and includes a bigger role for building automation systems. The industry has certainly seen growth in the number of building automation systems on the market, and conserving energy remains a top priority.
Zero-net-energy buildings will also be popular, says Yudelson. He claims green building has already “hit the mainstream” but says some building owners and developers want to go further. For them, zero-net-energy offers a differentiating feature, as well as saving money and energy.
Yudelson also sees increased competition for LEED. The green building standard has enjoyed primacy in the industry, but it could see new competitors, such as Green Globes rating system from the Green Building Initiative, www.thegbi.org, Portland, Ore. Yudelson mentions this system because, “Recent Obama administration actions have now put this system on a par with LEED for federal projects,” he says.
Some of the other trends cited for the coming year include a move toward the “greening” of existing buildings instead of new green building projects, as well as more use of cloud-based systems for building management and design.
One ongoing trend that will continue for 2014 is the use of disclosure requirements for green building. Yudelson says more cities are requiring commercial building owners to disclose actual green building performance, and he believes this practice will only grow more pronounced in the future. Similarly, building owners may more often choose to disclose the use of chemicals used in buildings, based on lists of potential chemicals of concern.
Yudelson’s list shows while green building has advanced significantly in recent years, there are still many issues to navigate. But the need for greener buildings will necessitate a stronger focus on the environmental consequences of the entire building process.
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