Based on the demand created by conscious consumers, as well as businesses and governments concerned with mitigating risk and increasing value, the demand for green building products is rapidly increasing. Many of the stats below are US based due to the greater capacity for research of the EPA versus Canadian government.

The U.S. market for green building materials reached nearly $40.0 billion and $43.8 billion in 2013 and 2014, respectively. This market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5% to nearly $69.0 billion over the period 2014-2019.

By 2030, 900 billion square feet of new building space will be constructed in cities worldwide. This area, which includes the replacement of old buildings, is equal to three times the total U.S. building stock.  


According to the inaugural BBMG Conscious Consumer Report, nearly nine in ten Americans say the words “conscious consumer” describe them well and are more likely to buy from companies that manufacture energy efficient products (90%), promote health and safety benefits (88%), support fair labor and trade practices (87%) and commit to environmentally-friendly practices (87%), if products are of equal quality and price. bbmg_conscious_consumer_white_paper.pdf

Value no longer just a matter of cost.

In a changing market with growing awareness of risk associated with climate chaos, as well as increasing prevalence in life cycle costing and natural resource valuation, value is no longer a simple expression of traditional monetary cost.  (Jackie Kanyuk, LEED consultant, verbal quote 2011)

The Value of Building Green (commercial buildings):

In a key study, green features and their related performance can provide extra loan security, additional income, higher rent, shorter absorption or sales duration, lower tenant churn or turnover, better rental stability, higher occupancy rates and reduced tenant inducements. In time these advantages can be expected to enhance investment returns although the evidence about the impact on asset value is limited at present. (Green Value Summary, Chris Corps, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, RICS)

The Value of Building Green (residential buildings)

In their examination on market valuation of home energy efficiency, Nevin and Watson found people are willing to pay ten to twenty times more for every dollar reduction in annual fuel bills. There is value beyond cost savings. Regulatory compliance, space user demand and investor demand can create tremendous value taking place off the conventional balance sheet.

Increase in demand for green construction

McGraw-Hill Construction’s Green Home Builders and Remodelers Survey (US) reported that green homes comprised 17% of the overall residential construction market in 2011 and are expected to grow to between 29% and 38% of the market by 2016. By value, this equates to a five-fold increase, growing from $17 billion in 2011 to $87-$114 billion in 2016, based on the five-year forecast for overall residential construction.

Renovation firms are expected to carry out 65 percent of their projects in a ‘green’ manner by 2014 with that number increasing to 77 percent by 2016, increasing from 22 percent in 2009. practices.

Factors driving the growth in the green home building and remodeling market include:

  • Higher quality for both new home builders and remodelers. For those doing a high volume of green homes (at least 60% of the homes they build), its importance is magnified, with 90% who regard higher quality as an important trigger for building green, compared to 72% of builders overall.
  • Customers are strongly value-driven—around two-thirds of builders and remodeler respondents state that customers request green homes or remodeling projects in order to lower their energy use or save money, more than twice any other factor.

Higher first costs for building green are noted by a much lower percentage of builders as an obstacle now than they were reported in 2008.


Demand for green building, stats from IBIS World report

Demand for green and sustainable building construction has increased dramatically in recent years, despite an overall decline in construction. Revenue for the Green and Sustainable Building industry, as estimated by IBISWorld, has risen at an average annual rate of 26.9% to $87.1 billion in the five years to 2011, including a 13.3% increase in 2011 alone.


Demand – LEED houses save $200/month in energy

LEED-Platinum Make It Right homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward are discovering that they are healthier, more resilient, and providing more than $200 per month in energy savings.


In their ‘green market barometer’ survey, Turner construction found that

ninety percent of real estate owners, developers, and corporate owner-occupants 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 operations. More than two-thirds said that non-financial factors were extremely or very important including indoor air quality (74%), health and well-being of occupants (74%), satisfaction of employees/occupants (69%), and employee productivity (67%).

Green Buildings Sell and Rent for More


In 2008 a CoStar Group study found that green buildings outperform non-green peer buildings in such key asset areas as occupancy, sale price and rental rates. In the study, LEED buildings commanded rent premiums of $11.33 per square foot over non-LEED peers and had 4.1 percent higher occupancy. Rental rates in Energy Star buildings represented a $2.40 per square foot premium over comparable non-Energy Star buildings and had 3.6 percent higher occupancy.

More info re green label having more value:

An ECert report by Seattle-based GreenWorks Realty evaluated data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Eco-friendly homes were on the market 22% less time than other homes. The homes that underwent the strictest certification, being tested by third parties, commanded prices 25% higher than regular homes.

Hilary Brown, founder of the Office of Sustainable Design in New York City’s Department of Design and Construction, states the economic imperative of green buildings: “…high-performance buildings affect the bottom line. New York’s High Performance Building Guidelines make it perfectly clear: in the long term it is more fiscally efficient to have a green building.”


International Building Code Changing

In its latest update of the codebook last March, the International Code Council(ICC) introduced the International Green Construction Code (IgCC). In addition to unprecedented updates addressing water and energy efficiency, there are aggressive goals for building materials and construction waste: the IgCC requires a minimum of 35 percent of construction waste must be diverted from landfills, and jurisdictions can increase this requirement up to 65 percent. The code requires 55 percent of the total materials in each building to be reused or recycled, or made of recyclable, biobased, or indigenous materials that come from within 500 miles of the site.


Changes in leading green standards

LEED v4 – in US

Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) and Health Product Declarations (HPD)

Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) were initiated in Europe to determine a product’s carbon footprint. It quantifies all of the environmental inputs into a product—energy, water, and materials—based on a life-cycle assessment (LCA).

While most of the green community agrees that EPDs are an important step in meeting future sustainability goals, there is another critical side of products that EPDs don’t cover—health.  Hazards are not covered under the environmental footprint of a product.

LEED 2012 

The new version of LEED includes water metering, recycling of grey water, sustainable site design, indoor air quality, and they apply to more building types

Business and Carbon reporting

A growing amount of public interest, government and market forces is calling for measurement and disclosure of carbon emissions.

An organization in the UK called the Carbon Disclosure Project works with 3000 of the world’s largest corporations and represents 534 investors who hold $64 trillion in assets, including HSBC and Goldman Sachs. The Carbon Disclosure Project has created the largest database of primary data on corporate climate change information in the world.

Back in its fifth year in Canada, the 2011 Carbon Disclose Project Canada sample took account of 200 of the largest companies based on market capitalization on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Investors, regulators, and corporations use this information for decision-making that takes into account factors such as future government legislation, corporate risk, shifts in consumer perception towards heavy emitters, even possible future lawsuits.

This disclosure is shifting the impetus towards giving higher priority to energy efficient design in new projects, creating firm targets for reducing emissions and carbon pricing as a way to shift the viability of alternative energy sources

Business leaders adopting deep green building principles

Google’s project coordinator for real estate and workplace services announced the world’s largest software company would be adopting the Materials Red List for all their construction.

Citing principles of health and vitality for their employees and acknowledging the high cost of healthcare, Google has committed to avoiding the use of potentially dangerous building materials. Google has over 70 offices in more than 40 countries, and is opening 40,000 square feet of office space a week.

Perkins + Will, an architecture and planning design firm with over 1,500 professional employees worldwide, have created Transparency Lists to exclude the use of precautionary products that are asthmagens and asthma triggers, as well as flame retardants

Industry enthusiasm for green building industry

Greenbuild Green Building Conference Registered Attendees

2010- 27,000

2011- 23,000

2012- 30,000

BC’s Energy Efficient Buildings Strategy (2008) required all new government buildings and facilities to meet the standards of LEED Gold or equivalent certification.

The USGBC ranks the top LEED states by the amount of LEED-certified square footage added in 2011, per capita.

Architecture Challenge 2030

Architecture 2030 is a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization, established by visionary architect Edward Mazria in 2002 in response to the climate change crisis

The aim of Architectural Challenge 2030 is for all new buildings and renovations to use no fossil fuel to operate by the year 2030. Innovative sustainable design strategies, on-site renewable power generation and/or purchasing (20% maximum) renewable energy will be essential to meeting these targets. (Challenge 2030)

There has been widespread adoption to the challenge from leading professional and non profit organizations such as the American Institute of Architecture, the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada, the US Green Building Council and many others. It has been included into various legislation and building codes and overwhelmingly adopted by the architectural community, including 73% of the top 30 architecture and engineering firms. These firms represent hundreds of billions of dollars worth of square feet of projects. A total of 41% of US architectural firms have signed on.

Architecture 2030 for Products

After forecasting the impact of the building materials used in Architectural Challenge 2030, Product Challenge 2030 was inspired to address the embodied energy of building products. Embodied greenhouse gas emissions from material extraction, manufacture and transport of building products is significant, and material manufacturing makes up 6% of the 50% of US carbon emissions – (see Challenge 2030 stats from US Gov.) The Product 2030 target is to half the carbon emissions of building products as compared to an equal average product.


The LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first national system for neighborhood design. LEED for Neighborhood Development is a collaboration among USGBC, Congress for the New Urbanism, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.


Changes to LEED- addressing chemicals and health 

LEED v4 is incentivizing building product transparency through credits such as MRc4: Building product disclosure and optimization – material ingredients, where at least 20 permanently installed products from manufacturers that demonstrate the chemical inventory of the product.


Product suppliers and manufacturers with healthy building products will have a competitive advantage on LEEDv4 projects.


German for passive house, the Passivhaus is a voluntary, rigorous standard for ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling resulting in a lower ecological footprint.

More technically, “A Passive House is a building for which thermal comfort can be achieved solely by heating or cooling the fresh air mass, which is required to fulfill sufficient indoor air quality conditions without a need for recirculated air.”

Passiv Haus adoption rates

Developed in 1990 in Europse, there are 30,000 Passivhaus projects there today, although only 1,600 are certified. A total of 2,017 projects are visible on their online database

Sources: and

Living Building Challenge

Advocacy tool and certification program promoting the most advanced measurement of sustainability in the built environment possible today. Applicable to development at all scales, from buildings to infrastructure, landscapes and neighborhoods, the Living Building Challenge comprises seven performance areas, known as petals: site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. These petals are subdivided into a total of twenty Imperatives.

With requirements (called imperatives) such as Car free living, Net zero water, Net zero energy, Embodied carbon footprint Responsible Industry and Rights to nature, the Living Building Challenge represents a growing movement toward creating buildings with the lowest impact possible. The LBC developed and incorporates the now well known Materials red list, one of the most challenging imperatives to achieve.

Net Zero EnergyNet N

All US Federal buildings are mandated to be net zero energy by 2030.

See net zero energy programs for adoption rates

Even the US military is gearing up for net zero with 17 net zero pilot sites.

Federal Department of Energy demands 50% reduction in energy use

The U.S. DOE Building Technologies Program announced their mission to cut the energy required for new homes in half and by 40 to 50% for existing homes, all at costs less than the costs of the energy saved. This mission is achieved through world-class research and diverse deployment programs.

Seattle has created a 2030 district –

According to Business in Vancouver’s Book of Lists, 11 of the top 19 largest architectural firms in B.C. listed themselves as sustainable or green service providers. These firms employed over 773 staff, with over $63 million in architectural fees.

As part of Vancouver’s Greenest City Initiative to be the world’s greenest city by 2020, all new buildings on rezoned sites must be built to LEED Gold standard.

The USGBC ranks the top LEED states by the amount of LEED-certified square footage added in 2011, per capita.

Mandatory Carbon Reporting in UK 

The UK has passed legislation introducing the world’s first long-term legally binding framework to tackle climate change. Passed on November 26, 2008, the Climate Change Act creates a new approach to managing and responding to climate change in the UK, by setting legally binding targets, taking powers to help meet those targets, and establishing clear and regular accountability to the UK Parliament.

This year marks the beginning of compulsory Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting for UK incorporated companies whose shares are traded on LSE, European stock exchanges, NYSE and/or NASDAQ.  It is expected the regulation will be rolled out to all large UK businesses following a review in 2015.

GHG/ Carbon Footprint Verification services 

You can read the Act in full on the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI): UK Statute Law Database – The Climate Change Act 2008.

Demand for green products too

Sourcing and verifying products to meet green building requirements can present challenges for designers, with significant project time spent researching, deciphering manufacturers’ product information, and liaising with product suppliers for increased transparency.

Any building product made with benign materials, transparently manufactured with a low carbon footprint that meets product testing standards will have a new found advantage in the materials selection process.  The emergence of these types of products will reduce research and red tape, giving them a high likelihood of becoming standard in designers’ specifications. They will help designers confidently and easily make the right material choice.”

Jackie Kanyuk, LEED Consultant, (quote Feb 2012)


A growing number of manufacturers recognize that human and environmental health considerations have become a crucial factor in material selection. Declare is a materials guide for product specification; it is a platform for manufacturers of ecologically sound projects to demonstrate market leadership and secure a competitive advantage by listing their product ingredients.


Demand for low carbon building materials

Challenge 2030 for Products not just buildings – Can we talk to her about how hard it is to find products to meet the challenge- opportunity?

Founder of BuildingGreen and executive editor of its GreenSpec Directory of green building products, Alex Wilson, explains: “Too often manufacturers and specifiers aren’t giving enough attention to the carbon footprint of green products. In many cases we’re hobbled by a lack of data. This new challenge will focus attention on this critical issue, and our company will actively support it.”


Health Product Declarations (HPDs)

Health Product Declarations were developed as a standard form for manufacturers to use to report content and related health hazard information about building products and materials.

Developed to complement the EPD, the HPD is an open standard, which means anyone can use it. The International Living Future Institute plans to use the language and definitions set by the HPD for its Declare product ingredients label.

There is some discussion that LEED v4 (2012) may give credits to incentivize increased product disclosure.

Material and Resource credit 2 (MRc2) is called Building product disclosure and optimization – environmental product declarations. This proposed credit could be a key vehicle towards driving increased building product transparency and disclosure.

Executive director of the Healthy Building Network (HBN), Bill Walsh, believes HPDs will be a critical tool for the green building community, which represents a necessary shift in the way sustainable building materials are evaluated. “The future of materials evaluation is going to be rooted in disclosure as opposed to where it’s now rooted, which is in certification to certain performance standards,” Walsh explains.


EPA Indoor AirPlus

The Environmental Protection Agency created Indoor airPLUS as an add-on to Energy Star label to help builders meet the growing consumer preference for homes with improved indoor air quality and to protect residents from issues like mold, moisture and radon. There are 30 additional home design and construction specifications that make an Indoor airPLUS qualified home helps, which include the careful selection of and installation of moisture control systems; heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems; combustion-venting systems; radon resistant construction; and low-emitting building materials.