The trend of green building that has taken hold in the United States in recent years and is surprisingly moving to a whole new level. Whereas before there were only a few green real estate developments, today this sustainability trend has also spread to entire communities and neighborhoods.
The west coast city of Portland is well known as an innovator in urban design, particularly for its transit-oriented developments, and is known for being among the pioneers of green building and design.
Single family home builders are now joining the trend
The basic principles behind green buildings – energy and water efficient buildings that have features that emphasize the natural over the chemical, the recycled over the new and the renewable over the finished – have now become firmly current.
According to environmental and real estate consultants, major developers today are slow to move, but they still see green construction using environmentally friendly designs and materials. Even in the suburbs, which are home to large builders of single-family homes, there is much more consumer interest. In a McGraw-Hill Construction survey conducted in March 2006, it predicted that green building would reach a “tipping point” in 2007 and that two-thirds of US builders would build greener homes.
Why homebuilders see the need to go green
Homebuilders and property developers aren’t just following the green building trend just because it’s the right thing to do. The housing and development industry knows it cannot afford to be left behind. By 2007, at least 6% of the nation’s non-residential construction, which accounts for a $15 billion chunk of the industry, is expected to be green, according to green building experts, so that six years ago it was less than 1%. . More and more property developers are finding that using green technologies and building materials adds no more than 1-2% to total costs, which is easily recouped through energy savings.
Offer developers incentives to go green
Currently, the federal government, 15 states and 46 cities now require new public buildings to fully meet the US Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, which require the use of building materials non-toxic, among other things.
Four states and 17 cities now offer incentives for LEED-rated private buildings. The Green Building Council has certified nearly 550 buildings across the country since 2002, and recent real estate developments have adopted green standards by creating greener multi-structure projects, such as South Waterfront in Portland, Oregon. The Green Building Council is also working to create LEED standards for single-family homes.
The corporate world was the first to see the value of going green that goes far beyond energy savings. Companies and businesses are now seeing less worker absenteeism, less time wasted due to asthma, allergies and other illnesses made worse by mold, stale air and chemicals found in many conventional buildings.
However, for large companies like Ford, Bank of America, Target, Toyota, Honda, Starbucks, Adobe and others, going green was also about building image, cleaning up the environment and reducing waste. costs. Many giant corporations know that in addition to building their image, the products they manufacture must also be environmentally friendly, as well as their manufacturing processes and factories.
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