Written by Rachel Bowdon
As highlighted in our blog last month, USGBC announced on December 7 that LEED-certified existing buildings surpassed LEED-certified new construction on a cumulative basis for the first time ever. It was a great way to finish 2011 and filled us with anticipation for what was to come in the New Year in regards to building reuse and retrofit trends.
As we begin 2012, we are excited to see that leaders in the sustainability and green building sectors are projecting that the focus on existing buildings (and older and historic buildings in particular) will not just continue, but get stronger. From programs and policies that encourage energy performance benchmarking and building renovations, to public/private partnerships that encourage energy audits and efficiency, most in the industry agree that reuse and retrofits will be one of the top 2012 green trends. To see for yourself, check out the lists of top trends we’ve compiled below:
Top Green Building Trends for 2012 - Green Building Services
In their top ten green building trends for 2012, Green Building Services (GBS) predicts that existing building renovations “will take center stage” in 2012 because it is “arguably more sustainable and cost effective than new construction.” We should expect to see increased energy benchmarking and continuous commissioning as well as building envelope commissioning in the coming year. In addition, GBS projects that there will be a rise of LEED Multiple Building certification efforts which allows a more cost efficient approach for owners of smaller, new or existing buildings under the control of a single entity to achieve green building goals.
Top Ten Global Mega Trends for 2012 - Green Building Consultant
Similarly, green building industry leader Jerry Yudelson expects that “the focus of the green building industry will continue its switch from new building design and construction to greening existing buildings.” Yudelson, author of Greening Existing Buildings, believes that one of the drivers of this megatrend is that “green buildings have rents and asset prices that are significantly higher than those documented for conventional office space.” In addition, Yudelson foresees that one of the fastest emerging trends will be Performance Disclosure. Performance Disclosure requires commercial building owners to report on the actual building performance to all new tenants and buyers —this requirement has shown to encourage energy efficiency retrofits in existing buildings.
Four Sustainability Trends to Watch in 2012 - Jones Lang LaSalle
Dan Probst, Chairman of Energy and Sustainability Services of Jones Lang LaSalle also believes that energy disclosure will become a major trend in 2012 and that this requirement will help tenants and investors make better informed decisions regarding energy efficiency. Further, he projects that the strong collaboration we saw between the public and private sectors in 2011 will continue to be one of the best ways to overcome obstacles to sustainability. One example includes President Obama’s recent announcement of a $4 billion commitment in energy upgrades to public and private buildings that will be of no cost to tax payers. “Called the Better Buildings Challenge, the eight-year initiative includes $2 billion in energy upgrades of federal buildings and another $2 billion of private capital to improve energy by 20 percent in buildings totaling 1.5 billion square feet.”
Rachel Bowdon is the program assistant for the Sustainability Program at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
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