November 22, 2017

Evolving Attitudes at Greenbuild 2017

by Eric Thompson

About a month ago, an interesting report from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) caught my attention. Within the report, there are some figures that suggest “green building” in the residential space aren’t just sticking around—they’re becoming increasingly common.

Consider some of the findings: A third of single-family and multifamily builders report that 60 percent of their projects are built green, and that number is expected to increase to half by 2022. Meanwhile, builders are no longer as concerned about higher upfront costs as they once were, due to increased demand for green projects. And 54 percent of multifamily builders say green homes are easier to market to customers.

Is green building becoming the new normal? While it’s a show focused primarily on commercial construction, I recently returned from this year’s Greenbuild Conference and Expo in Boston, and I correlated some of the NAHB figures with conversations I had at this year’s show. I like attending Greenbuild because it’s a great opportunity to converse with diverse audiences outside just the fenestration space. Architects, engineers, designers and builders all show up. It’s a great show for new insights.

Among some of the things I heard: Is “green” building its own concept in 2017? Or is it all simply…building?

Green building principles continue to be adopted far and wide, within the residential and commercial construction spaces. Consider my colleague Anthony Wright’s recent post about New York City’s proposed emissions targets moving forward, through which buildings in the city will need to cut emissions by 80 percent.  

That’s a huge figure, and it will take many of the technologies on display at Greenbuild—and other emerging technologies to come—to hit the target. And there’s opportunity for the fenestration industry here. As Anthony writes, “The new rules could open the floodgates to more widespread adoption of vinyl profiles in the city, which could have a significant ripple effect. Consider that New York state is the largest market for commercial properties in the country. If vinyl takes off there, I think adoption beyond is likely.”

Consider also that many are turning to “green” building practices for reasons that have less to do with emissions reduction, and more with bottom-line benefits and occupancy comfort. Lower power bills and more comfortable living and working spaces are desirable among both tenants and property owners. It just makes good business sense.

I’ve written here and elsewhere about how high performance vinyl window profiles continue to make waves in light commercial construction after having achieved market dominance in the residential space. I think it’s a trend that will continue as architects and builders seek many new ways to hit energy goals.

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Posted: November 22, 2017 by Eric Thompson Filed under: building, green, trends