The fourth annual Green Building Survey by Allen Matkins LLP, Constructive Technologies Group (CTG), and the Green Building Insider indicates that green building is managing to retain solid support among design and construction professionals, despite perceptions of the costs and the effects of recession.
The survey, which resulted in responses from more than 1,600 design and construction professionals, indicates that 92.3% continue to “strongly endorse green building.” The figure is down from 96% in 2007 and 93.5% in 2008.
At the same time, support for certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system slipped 11% in 2008 and 4.7% in 2009, falling to 62%. Cost is cited as a major driver for opinions on green building in the economic downturn, with the gap between support for green construction and LEED certification growing over the past two years. Still, the level of support for LEED certification remains high, CTG said.
“While the recession no doubt challenged the volume of green construction, it pushed projects to look for financial advantage: Saving energy and other operating expenses was the number-one reason for building green projects,” Constructive Technologies Group said in comments on the survey results.
Constructive Technologies Group said green building is perceived to carry greater construction risks than non-green construction, despite the fact that LEED-mandated building tests known as commissioning actually reduce the risk of building-system failure. According to the survey, the top strategies to reduce the risks of green building are:
• retaining green consultants (such as LEED-AP consultants);
• measurement and re-commissioning;
• periodic testing; and
• contractual risk shifting.
More than half of all survey respondents indicated that a LEED Gold rating increased project costs by 4% or more, while nearly 30% of respondents reported the costs of LEED Gold rating at significantly lower than 4%. Possible explanations for the difference in reported cost premiums include:
• the variety of local codes and professional experience in certain regions that raise the minimum standards close to LEED Gold standards, and
• the varying degree of difficulty in achieving a LEED Gold rating on different building types, such as hotels versus office buildings.
“As in previous years, our Green Survey provides an excellent barometer of opinions regarding the importance, risks and costs relative to the green building industry,” said Bryan Jackson, chairman of Allen Matkins’ Green and Sustainable Construction Practice Group, and an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California who teaches green and sustainable construction. Jackson is editor of the Green Building Insider.
The survey results can be viewed at www.allenmatkins.com/emails/GreenSurvey/index.asp.
Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP is a California-based law firm, with a practice that includes real estate, land use, construction, and other business-related specialties.