Green building activity set to increase pace globally

New industry research shows the rapid rise in green buildings in 19 countries, underscoring value for certification systems like the LEED in the US

by HABHAJAN SINGH

Green building activity is expected to see more action globally. At least, that was the survey outcome of a US-based green building rating tool promoter.

Nearly half of the respondents last year, with the US Green Building Council (USGBC) as one of its contributors, expected that the majority of their projects in the next three years will be green buildings.

Two-thirds of the survey participants reported that using a rating system like the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) allowed them to create a better performing building.

More than half of the respondents also believed that rating systems provided third-party verification that ensured buildings were running in a sustainable manner, USGBC said in a statement.

“With more and more people demanding and expecting healthier places to live and work, more and more leaders around the globe are committing to green building, which is now a trillion-dollar industry,” said USGBC president/CEO Mahesh Ramanujam in the same statement.

In November 2018, USGBC announced the results of the Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2018 SmartMarket Report.

USGBC promotes the LEED in its efforts to transform building practices. Other such green building rating tools globally include the UK’s Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, Japan’s

Comprehensive Assessment System for Built Environment Efficiency, Australia’s Green Star and Singapore’s Green Mark.

Malaysia’s very own Green Building Index (GBI), introduced in early 2009, was jointly developed by the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) and the Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM).

GBI is designed specifically for the tropical climate (hot and humid) and Malaysia’s current social, infrastructure and economic development, according to the GBI website.

The profession-driven Malaysian initiative has the support of professional institutes, relevant government agencies and the building/property industry, the information added.

Green building index Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of PAM and ACEM, operates the GBI. An independent panel comprising senior professionals make up the GBI Accreditation Panel which is responsible for issuing all GBI certifications.

According to the results of the study shared by USGBC, improving occupant’s health ranks first among social drivers for green building, followed by encouraging sustainable business practices and improved worker productivity.

In 2016, Green Business Certification Inc — the certifying body for the LEED projects globally — created Arc, a digital performance platform that benchmarks, tracks and measures building activity across energy, waste, water, transportation and the human experience. Currently, Arc is tracking performance for 1.5 billion sq ft of space across 80 countries.

One “notable” project certified in 2018 included the Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital in Illinois which is badged LEED Silver. It is part of a redeveloped campus that opened in March 2018 with over 700 physicians providing primary, specialty and emergency care.