Turner Construction Company, recognized as a leading general builder and the largest green builder in the U.S., announced the results of a new Market Barometer survey that focused on environmentally sustainable, or "green," building, and on sustainable practices in general. Key findings revealed that companies remain committed to constructing greenbuildings. While executives remained committed to incorporating sustainable building practices into their building programs, fewer said their companies were likely to seek LEED certification from the US Green Building Council when constructing a greenbuilding.
Among real estate owners, developers and corporate owner-occupants, 64 percent said they expect to undertake new construction projects over the next 12 months (up from 46 percent in the 2010 survey), and 71 percent said they expect to undertake renovation projects over the same period (up from 58 percent in the 2010 survey).
Ninety percent of respondents said their companies were committed to environmentally-sustainable practices. Of that percentage, 56 percent of executives said their companies were extremely or very committed to following environmentally sustainable practices in their operations, while an additional 34 percent said they were somewhat committed. In addition to citing financial reasons for this commitment, executives were most likely to cite broader considerations as extremely or very important including:
- 68% belief that it's the 'right thing to do'
- 67% impact on brand/reputation
- 61% customer requirements
- 66% cost savings
Reducing energy costs and operating expenses key drivers to green construction
Executives were most likely to cite financial factors as being important to their companies' decisions on whether to incorporate green features in a construction project. Respondents indicated that energy efficiency (84 percent) and ongoing operations and maintenance costs (84 percent) were extremely or very important to their decisions.
More than two-thirds of executives also said that non-financial factors were extremely or very important including:
- 74% indoor air quality
- 74% health and well-being of occupants
- 69% satisfaction of employees/occupants
- 67% employee productivity
However, only 37 percent of executives said it was extremely or very important to their companies to minimize the carbon footprint of their buildings.
This suggests that the decision to incorporate green features is driven by a desire to reduce cost followed by an interest to improve the indoor environment for building occupants rather than broader concerns about the impact of buildings on the global environment.
More than half of executives said their companies would be extremely or very likely to invest in improved indoor environmental quality (63 percent), improved water efficiency (57 percent), and green materials (53 percent) if they were undertaking a construction project.
"Energy efficiency figures prominently in the decision-making process of green building primarily because of its large economic impact. Water efficiency in green construction was seen as less important. This is in spite of a growing awareness that water is a finite resource, both in its operational use and its role in the production of goods and materials. While the direct economic impact of water efficiency is less than the savings on energy, its environmental impact is quite significant," said Michael Deane, vice president and chief sustainability officer at Turner Construction.
Fewer companies seeking LEED certification
Although the vast majority of companies remain committed to green buildings, the percentage of executives who thought it was extremely or very likely that their company would seek LEED certification if they constructed a green building was only 48 percent, down from 53 percent in the 2010 survey and 61 percent in the 2008 survey. Among executives who said their companies were not likely to seek LEED certification, the most important reasons cited were: