I read today on GreenerBuildings.com that YKK AP America is holding a green building video competition called “Building a Better Tomorrow, Today.” I think it is an interesting way to promote green building and to raise awareness of the innovative techniques that are being used in sustainable building designs, products, and construction.

According to the YKK AP website, the entered videos should be “about an idea, design, product, or project on how America can enhance the built environment for generations to come from an energy-savings, green-building, or sustainability perspective.”  That criteria opens the competition to a broad spectrum of entries, and I’m sure there will be no shortage of ideas to be shared.

The video entries will be posted on YouTube (unless specifically chosen to be submitted privately), so that these ideas, products or projects will be available to the public.  Be sure to check them out.  The contest runs from September 2 through October 15, 2010.

Check the YKK AP website for details about the contest.  And, be sure to let us know which entry you think is the most innovative or creative.

Engineering News-Record (ENR) recently reported in its July 5, 2010 issue that revenue from projects registered with and actively pursuing green building certification by a third-party sustainable-design standard organization–like LEED and Energy Star–rose 16.8% in 2009 for ENR’s Top 100 Green Design Firms.  According to ENR, the total revenue from these projects rose to $3.3 billion, up from $2.85 billion in 2008, and includes both private and public projects, though revenue was largely generated from private sector markets such as retail, hospitality, multi-unit residential and health care.  This is pretty remarkable given that funding for private construction projects has all but disappeared since the banking industry bailout and since the recession hit the development and construction industries like a “ton of bricks.” (pun intended)    

 It would be reasonable to expect that the demand for green building and third-party certifications would decrease during these tough economic times because of the additional cost associated with green building and sustainable certifications.  So, why is green building bucking the recession trend?  Here are my thoughts:

  • Owners are taking advantage of tax credits and other government economic incentives designed to promote reduced energy use and encourage alternative energy production
  • Owners are recognizing that green building is not simply a status symbol or marketing tool to lure tenants—they are understanding that the implementation of many of these green building initiatives will reduce energy and operating costs
  • The cost to build green has come down—the old notion that green building was significantly more expensive than traditional design and construction techniques is no longer true
  • More state and local governments are including green building rating systems in their building codes for both public and private construction

There are probably many more factors that have contributed to the rise in green building revenue despite the recession, which I haven’t mentioned.  What all of this tells me is that we are thinking green now.  Green building initiatives are becoming the baseline for design and construction rather than extraordinary and unique features. 

 Do you believe that green building and sustainability is the new way of doing business for the design and construction industries?