Green Buildings in USA

The U.S. green building market in commercial and institutional segment was USD 26.5 billion and residential segment was USD 25.8 billion in 2009. The experts expect the commercial and institutional segment will be USD 63 billion and residential segment to be USD 65.6 billion by 2013. The industry drivers in the country are lower energy costs, operating cost savings and green building price premium.

960 U.S. commercial properties were certified to the U.S. Energy Star standard and 340 properties to the LEED green building standard as of 2008 survey. Colleges and universities across the U.S. also quickly embraced the green building standards. The campus sustainability rating and ranking systems, primarily AASHE STARS, the Green Report Card, Campus Environment 2008, and the Green Honor Roll, take critical look at green building practices and provides additional guidelines for making progress. More than 3,000 projects were registered for LEED certification by the end of 2009 and 571 LEED projects achieved certification. 

The top ten U.S. Universities in terms of LEED projects are University of Florida, Harvard University, UC-Santa Barbara, University of Washington, Duke University, Syracuse University, University of Virginia, Cornell University, Emroy University and University of Colorado-Boulder. 

The major green building techniques used in U.S. are:

  1. Underfloor air distribution systems (displacement ventilation approaches)
  2. Building-integrated photovoltaic panels
  3. Air conditioning for both ventilation and space conditioning.
  4. The water technologies and system for buildings include

    1. Rainwater harvesting
    2. Graywater reuse
    3. Water-free or ultra-low-flow urinals
    4. High-efficiency toilets (HET)
    5. Low-flow faucets ans shower heads 

Some of U.S. green building trends are:

  1. Rapid market penetration of the LEED green building rating system and growth in USGBC membership
  2. Strong federal leadership, public and private entities offer financial and regulatory incentives
  3. Industry professionals take actions to educate members and integrate best practices and corporate America capitalizes on green building benefits
  4. The green building practices are spreading beyond office buildings to all business sectors, including manufacturing, retail and hospitality industries.

Players in the market

Steelcase, Herman Miller, Johnson Controls, Interface, PNC Financial Services, Southern California Gas Company and Ford Motor Company are among the large corporations in the United States that design and construct flagship green buildings.

U.S. is known for LEED Platinum-certified buildings. The projects are certified as per the performance goals such as LEED Gold or LEED Platinum. The U.K leading engineers have already set up shop in United States. Ove Arup and partners and Atelier Ten are the firms with offices in U.S 

The tools (standards) set up are LEED “ceiling” for non-residential, publicly financed, and market-rate buildings, Green communities criteria for publicly financed residential projects, Energy Star modeling and benchmarking and Green codes “floor” for all buildings. Minimum green building standards promulgated by the International Code Council (ICC) and American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) impact the U.S. construction and real estate markets.