USGBC recently announced the results of research by Dodge Data and Analytics, with which USGBC has partnered, in the World Green Building Trends 2018 SmartMarket Report. The survey broke down the many ways in which green building continues to grow in the marketplace.
Green building has always had concrete benefits for business as well as for the environment, and the feedback of survey respondents reflects their continued interest in the ways that the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit work together.
The chart below shows the expected cost savings from new green buildings and from green retrofits, respectively, from the past three versions of this study. The consistency of lower costs and higher asset values over time, regardless of changes over the years in respondent composition and global economic conditions, is striking:
Among the factors listed as business benefits in green building, "lower operating costs" was number one, selected by 65 percent of respondents overall. In the United States, 77 percent of those taking the survey chose it as the most important benefit. "Occupant health and well-being" was ranked as the second most important, chosen by 58 percent of respondents overall.
Other top benefits were "documentation and certification providing quality assurance" and "higher value at point of sale." Certification such as LEED, which signals the rigorous accomplishment in energy efficiency, occupant health and sustainability that green building provides, may even help provide that higher sale value, as buyers increasingly favor green buildings.
The chart below compares short- and long-term operating cost decreases for new green buildings, as expected by survey respondents:
Growing investment value
Since 2012, the percentage of owners reporting that new green buildings have an asset value more than 10 percent greater that that of traditional buildings has nearly doubled. In 2018, 30 percent of owners made this claim, compared with 16 percent in 2012. This suggests that the market's preference for green buildings has become even more widely perceived.
The responses from architects and contractors are very close to that of the owners when it comes to asset values—and this similarity, according to the study, is a positive indication that project teams can help influence their clients to invest in green building, since they can communicate the financial benefits of building sustainably.