Adopting green building principles presents a tremendous opportunity for construction companies
By most estimates, construction accounts for more than a third of greenhouse gas emissions. With urbanization trends producing ever more tightly packed cities, the coming decades will see a huge demand for new construction accompanied by market and governmental pressures to get those buildings with as few emissions as possible. The companies that embrace green building practices and make sustainability an integral part of their culture will be the ones winning contracts again and again. Some eco-conscious firms have already established a blueprint others can emulate.
Get Green Going
Green building offers an effective approach to constructing communities that are primed for the future, with LEED certifications serving as evidence of your commitment to sustainability as a builder. Through thoughtful planning, including the use of software that considers the complete lifespan of a project, you can make informed decisions that reduce the project’s carbon footprint and mitigate erosion and water quality concerns. This demonstrates your genuine concern for the long-term sustainability of your buildings and the well-being of the communities they serve.
Green certifications will also help your firm win future jobs, as the green building market has been on a huge upward trajectory and could reach $1 trillion by 2030. There’s a great deal of federal funding for new and retrofit green building projects that can keep initial costs down while doing wonders for your bottom line. Embracing green building practices is essential for construction firms aiming to build communities and leave a positive impact on the 21st century. Becoming a certified green builder is a crucial step towards achieving this goal. Green building is widely recognized as the future of construction, offering an opportunity for firms to contribute to sustainable development and make a meaningful difference in the world.
One That Is Already Built
“The greenest building … is one that is already built,” former American Institute of Achitects president Carl Elefante once wrote.
A sizable chunk of construction emissions comes from manufacturing building materials. Retrofitting an existing building eliminates the potential emissions from demolishing it and making new materials for another building that replaces it.
FSG, one of the largest electrical contractors and lighting distributors in the U.S., has an entire vertical dedicated to retrofitting. It’s part of FSG’s philosophy of putting efficiency at the heart of everything it does and helping every customer, employee, and even building reach full potential.
“These are investments,” Robert Ragozine, then-vice president of FSG’s ESCO Group, told BOSS. “Typically, they’re really good investments. When we look at a facility for a lighting retrofit, it’s very rare that we see paybacks that go above four or five years. It’s usually two or three years. These are 20, 30, 40% return on investment.”
Wedgewood strives to be a force for greater good in communities, and in addition to charitable giving and volunteer service, the real estate revitalizer incorporates sustainability initiatives into every job.
“Contrary to many real estate investors who purchase properties, demolish them, and construct new buildings – a significant strain on the environment – our approach is different,” COO Jamie Bedner told BOSS. “We salvage structures, improve them, renovate them, and revive them, effectively reducing the carbon footprint. This method also helps maintain housing affordability.”
The Decarbonization Opportunity
Over nearly 125 years, Turner Construction has a $15 billion business that completes 1,500 projects a year. Today, green design accounts for nearly half that revenue, and the corporation this year announced a plan to promote long-term sustainability. In “Building Today to Transform Tomorrow,” Turner vows to work with business partners and clients to influence decisions about the sourcing, resiliency, and sustainability of building materials and systems.
Started in 1906, just a few years after Turner, Clark Construction has also made green building a cornerstone of its operations. With more than 360 LEED-accredited professionals on staff, Clark has completed more than 500 sustainability-certified projects to date. The company is driven by key green building goals: balancing long- and short-term costs, maximizing building efficiency, lowering embodied carbon, and creating healthier places to live and work. Examples include a recycled rainwater system that reduces water consumption by 50% and a 14,000-square-foot rooftop garden terrace that reduces the urban heat island effect at Summit, a 1.5-million-square-foot addition to the Seattle Convention Center.
“Clients count on us to deliver valuable market insights, evaluate materials options, assess carbon intensity alongside cost, and advise on optimizing building performance,” the company says.
Rather than being a burden, decarbonization presents an opportunity for builders. It’s an opportunity to innovate, an opportunity to bring creative designs to market. Most of all, it’s an opportunity to build the future.