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Building industry poised to double green certifications by 2018

Demand for green certified buildings is continuing to soar with the market doubling every three years.

That is the central conclusion of a major new report backed by the World Green Building Council (WGBC), which found that a sharp increase in interest in green buildings in emerging markets such as China, India and the Middle East will see demand for green certification double as early as 2018.

The report, carried out by Dodge Data & Analytics and United Technologies Corporation with support from the WGBC, the U.S. Green Building Council and Saint-Gobain, draws on a survey of over 1,000 building professionals from 69 countries.

It found that while only 18 percent of building companies currently have more than 60 percent of their projects independently certified as green, that proportion is expected to rise to 37 percent by 2018.

The projected increase in demand is good news for increasingly popular green building certification schemes, such as LEED, BREEAM and Green Star, as well as the expanding ecosystem of clean tech companies specializing in green building technologies.

Terri Wills, CEO of WGBC, said the surge in demand was being driven by the increasingly widespread acceptance of the "strong business case for green building."

The report highlighted how building owners report seeing a median increase of 7 percent in the value of their green buildings compared to traditional buildings — an increase that WGBC said was consistent between new green buildings and those that are renovated green.

Global green building activity continues to double every three years. More people recognize the economic and productivity value.

Moreover, respondents to the survey highlighted lower operating costs and enhanced quality assurance as compelling reasons for securing green building certification.

There was also further evidence the trend is being driven by demand from corporate customers, with nearly half of all respondents saying they expected to do a green commercial property project in the next three years.

"The survey shows that global green building activity continues to double every three years," said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer at United Technologies Corporation, in a statement. "More people recognize the economic and productivity value that green buildings bring to property owners and tenants, along with the energy and water benefits to the environment, which is driving the green building industry's growth. It's a win-win for people, planet and the economy."

Wills also stressed the growing importance of emerging markets to the green building sector.

For example, the report found that Brazil expects sixfold growth in the percentage of companies that expect to certify the majority of their projects as green, rising from 6 percent to 36 percent by 2018, while fivefold growth is expected in China — from 5 percent to 28 percent — and fourfold growth is anticipated in Saudi Arabia, rising from 8 percent to 32 percent.

"Green building is playing a critical role in the development of many emerging economies, particularly as their populations grow and create a pressing need for a built environment that is both sustainable and ensures a high quality of life," Wills added.

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