Eco-friendly construction trends are on the rise and this can be seen with the recent completion of Entry Hall Pavilion at the World Financial Center. Using energy efficient construction models as well as eco-friendly architecture, it is indicative of construction companies adopting a new way forward.
Then there is healthy competition for green building in the market as well. Just a week ago, Lincoln Hall received the highest ‘green building’ certification (LEED Platinum) within the U.S. The number of LEED certified buildings within the country has increased to 16,500 in 2013.
The main factors that are driving green building within the U.S. include an unprecedented level of government initiatives, increased domestic demand for green construction and, most importantly, improvement in sustainable materials.
Programs and Tools Supporting Green Commercial Buildings
There are two important programs that are incentivizing the development of energy efficient and sustainable buildings through systems of ratings to designate and promote exemplary construction projects. Apart from that, information technology tools are assisting in sustainable building.
The first one is the Energy Star Program, which is being jointly sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Dept. of Energy. It helps construction companies to identify and promote energy efficient products and appliances to conserve energy. Since 1995, Energy Star has been running a labeling program for commercial buildings.
Next, a parallel effort has been made by the U.S. Green Building Council, founder of the LEED green building rating system. The principle behind this program is the adoption of sustainable green building and development practices within the construction community. Its rating system is complex, but more rewarding. There are six rating metrics, which provide a Silver, Gold or Platinum status.
LEED certified buildings are unique in the sense that they have lower operating costs and have increased asset values. And due to this, they fare well in the market and have long term productivity for the builder/owner.
Impetus from Information Technology
The challenge of producing green building lies in the cost effectiveness. Insuring this is dependent on the construction companies’ ability to use all appropriate tools. A unique aspect of green building is the usage of information technology tools to enhance sustainability.
A report on the economy of green building by Procore Technologies, an information technology service provider for construction companies, states that the usage of project management tools (software mediated) have allowed the construction companies to be revitalized. They had suffered a massive setback since the recession but now owing to the green building model, they’re making a comeback courtesy of reduced costs. Specific areas of interest include contract and change management.
These tools allow the construction process to reduce wasted money and construction material. Such models have been successfully applied by construction companies in Minnesota, where they have been able to save millions of dollars in energy projects, according to a report. The remarkable finding was that construction companies were able to add $257 million to the state economy at a time when the market was in recovery mode.
The information provided above shows construction companies and builders with a strategic plan to bolster their businesses. Using certifications, they can add monetary value and with the help of information technology tools, they can reduce costs and increase construction efficiency.