The recent Climate Summit in Paris has almost every country on Earth fired up about changing climate policy to help save our planet. As it turns out, the construction industry in the U.S. has been slowly warming to the change. And with the proliferation of new technology, and support that goes well beyond the industry, green building is a trend that has no end in sight.
Several factors are contributing to the green building wave, not the least of them is accessible green technology. Cool roofs, green insulation, biodegradable materials, geothermal heating, solar power, electrochromic smart glass, and smart appliances are adding up—in some cases—to zero-energy buildings. Solar technology, just one example of the trend, has helped solar lead the way in green job growth particularly in Texas, Nevada and California. The Environmental Entrepreneurs study credits 21 new solar installation projects for nearly 6,500 new job announcements.
As the technology used in construction becomes more advanced and less expensive, more green building will become possible and probable.
Another contributing factor to the success of green building in the 21st century is—surprisingly—supportive government policy. Clean Power Plan, an initiative announced by President Barack Obama, is geared at reducing carbon pollution by 32 percent by 2030. It also details aspirations for increasing renewable energy generation by 30 percent. Both of these would mean a large hike in clean energy jobs, numbering in the thousands.
According to Environmental Entrepreneurs, Colorado’s renewable energy mandate has spurred massive wind farm development, with two new wind farms scheduled to power 99,000 homes. In Nevada, three new solar farms spread across vast acreage represent a key step forward in large-scale solar on public lands, with U.S. Department of the Interior approval.
And of course, the new goals outlined by the Paris Climate Summit will also contribute to the growth of green, well, everything in the years to come. These initiatives will also be helped along by the young generations—raised on recycling programs and knowledge of green energy—as they become active in politics.
It’s hard to ignore the benefits of green building, which is another driving factor: popular appeal. The World Green Building Council’s metastudy, sponsored by JLL, revealed that green building features can support employee health, well-being and productivity, providing an additional argument for investing in green construction.
People as a whole have realized we need to do something to protect this planet. Green building is just one of the many ways we can do so.