Green Building Megatrends for 2013 From Jerry Yudelson

Jerry Yudelson/Promo image

Nate Berg called Jerry Yudelson the "godfather of green building" in in Wired. Now Jerry has listed the top ten megatrends in Green building for 2013 in Sustainable Industries. It's an interesting and very positive list; I am not sure I agree with all of them, and notwithstanding the risk of ending up with the head of a horse in my bed, they are worth looking at. Read them all at the source; here are the ones I have comments about.

1. Green building in North America will rebound strongly in 2013, using LEED project registrations as a proxy for this growth.

The USGBC is coming off a very tough year, with the LEED program under serious attack at State and Federal governments, thanks to pressure from the lumber and plastics industry. I hope that Jerry is right, but even though we just avoided the worst of a fiscal cliff, we are still seeing pressure on spending. I worry that we will see more buildings "designed to LEED" but that are not certified because of costs. There are also so many other trends that are going to dampen the demand for more commercial buildings; I think a rebound call is overly optimistic. This is my response to his megatrend 9, Local and state governments will step up their mandates for green buildings for both themselves and the private sector- I don't think it will happen under these circumstances.

2. The focus of the green building industry will continue to switch from new building design and construction to greening existing buildings.

Agreed; there is a continuing trend to urban development, and that favours renovation over new building. The creative classes like old buildings, and they are the businesses that are expanding.

4. Awareness of the coming crisis in fresh water supply, both globally and in the U.S., will increase, leading building designers, owners and managers to take further steps to reduce water consumption in buildings by using more conserving fixtures, rainwater recovery systems and innovative onsite water technologies.

I'm not convinced that there is so much awareness, or that the changes in fixtures and recovery systems are making that much of a difference. We need seriously radical change here, and what we are getting is incremental. Composting toilets anyone?

6. Zero-net-energy buildings will become increasingly commonplace.

Well, I hope they are better than this one.

7. Performance disclosure will be the fastest emerging trend.

Yes! This is key and it is happening, legislated in New York City and I hope following everywhere.

8 Transparency and “Red List” chemicals will become a subject of contention

That is putting it mildly, this is going to be the big issue of the next few years. The chemical and plastics industry are putting all of their resources into fighting this and they make the NRA look like a bake sale.

10 Solar power use in buildings will continue to grow.

Perhaps. But I wish there would be more concentration on reducing demand through use of insulation and better design than increasing supply through green gizmos on the roof.

Tags: Green Building | Solar Power