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Benefits of green building

Buildings are responsible for an enormous amount of global energy use, resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. As the demand for more sustainable building options increases, green construction is becoming increasingly profitable and desirable within the international construction market.

Green building is profitable & cost-effective

  • Upfront investment in green building makes properties more valuable, with an average expected increase in value of 4 percent. By virtue of lowered maintenance and energy costs the return on investment from green building is rapid: green retrofit projects are generally expected to pay for itself in just seven years.1
  • Green buildings reduce day-to-day costs year-over-year. LEED buildings report almost 20 percent lower maintenance costs than typical commercial buildings, and green building retrofit projects typically decrease operation costs by almost 10 percent in just one year.2, 3
  • Between 2015 and 2018, LEED-certified buildings in the United States are estimated to have $1.2 billion in energy savings, $149.5 million in water savings, $715.2 million in maintenance savings and $54.2 million in waste savings.4
  • By 2021, in the U.S., green activity is expected to grow, with those doing the majority of their projects green increasing from 32 percent to 45 percent. Client demands remains the top trigger driving the market and encouraging occupant health and well-being is the top social reason for building green.

Green buildings lower utility bills and benefit the environment

  • Buildings are positioned to have an enormous impact on the environment and climate change. At 41 percent of total U.S. energy consumption, buildings out-consume the industrial (30 percent) and transportation (29 percent) sectors.5
  • Buildings use about 14 percent of all potable water (15 trillion gallons per year), but water-efficiency efforts in green buildings are expected to reduce water use by 15 percent and save more than 10 percent in operating costs.6, 7 Retrofitting one out of every 100 American homes with water-efficient fixtures could avoid about 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent of removing 15,000 cars from the road for one year.8
  • Standard building practices use and waste millions of tons of materials each year; green building uses fewer resources and minimizes waste. LEED projects are responsible for diverting more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills, and by 2030 that number is expected to grow to 540 million tons.9
  • In the United States alone, buildings account for almost 40 percent of national CO2 emissions and out-consume both the industrial and transportation sectors, but LEED-certified buildings have 34 percent lower CO2 emissions, consume 25 percent less energy and 11 percent less water, and have diverted more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills.10
  • The market is responding to these cost savings and environmental benefits at a dramatic rate. According to a Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2018 SmartMarket Report, global green building activity continues to rise and nearly half of survey respondents expect the majority of their projects in the next three years to be green buildings.11

3 McGraw-Hill Construction (2012). World Green Buildings Study. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012.

4 Booz Allen Hamilton and the U.S. Green Building Council (2015). 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study.

5 National Trust for Historic Preservation (2011). The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse.

6 U.S. Geological Survey (2000). 2000 data.

7 McGraw Hill Construction (2010). Green Outlook 2011: Green Trends Driving Growth.

8 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Green Building, Green Homes, Conserving Water. Water Use and Energy.

9 Watson, Rob. Greenbiz Group (2011). Green Building and Market Impact Report.

11 Dodge Research and Analytics (2018). World Green Building Trends 2018 SmartMarket Report.