Studies on Smart Structures, Eco-Friendly Elements Affirm Appeal of Green Building

Studies on Smart Structures, Eco-Friendly Elements Affirm Appeal of Green Building

As the end of the year approaches, a raft of studies and reports are being released affirming the benefits and resilience of green building despite turbulent economic times.

In a wide-ranging 218-page report, the Continental Automated Buildings Association examines bright green buildings, the term CABA has coined for the intersection of smart buildings equipped with sophisticated controls systems and high-performance environmentally efficient structures. The result, the study said, is intelligent, green and profitable buildings.

CABA conducted the research with Frost & Sullivan, a global consultancy firm specializing in growth partnerships. Together they chart the development of eco-friendly buildings and smart structures, look at green building rating and certification systems, review the technology that made smart buildings possible and explore the impacts and benefits of the convergence of the two. Along the way, the researchers also provide case studies of nine bright green building projects in the U.S., Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Researchers said their work shows that bright green buildings will "provide a tangible and significant return on investment." The building industry anticipates rapid growth in the area, and "ultimately, the implementation of intelligent technologies will cost less than traditional technologies, because lifetime operating costs are significantly lower and labor costs are also likely to drop significantly," CABA said in announcing the study results.

For a free copy of the study, click here to download. The report was one of several released in the past month.
Courtesy CABA and Frost & Sullivan
The "2008 Green Survey: Existing Buildings" found that commercial building owners continue to devote funds and other resources to green their portfolios. More than 80 percent of the respondents said they allocated funds to green initiatives this year, according to the survey. Forty-five percent said their sustainability investment will increase in 2009.

The study was sponsored by Incisive Media's Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com, the Building Owners and Managers Association International and the U.S. Green Building Council.

The survey also found that:
-- Energy conservation was the most common measure undertaken by survey respondents. Initiatives involving recycling, water conservation and Energy Star product programs were next on the list.
-- 60 percent said their firms offer educational programs to assist tenants in implementing green programs, up from 49.4 percent last year.
-- Almost 70 percent of the participants said they implemented a benchmarking system to monitor energy usage and efficiency; 80 percent said efficiency efforts have helped knock back rising energy costs.
-- Almost 65 percent said they feel their green investments have generated a positive ROI, up from 60.8 percent in 2007.

Survey results appear in the November issue of Real Estate Forum magazine, online at GlobeSt.com  and in the January/February 2009 issue of The BOMA Magazine.

HydroPoint Data Systems Inc
. said its annual Green Leaders Survey found that those queried feel that "going green" results in opportunities for "significant financial and environmental gains during an economic downturn.

Half the respondents said they felt that their company leaders continue to be committed to greening the work environment. The survey also found companies are focused on ensuring that sustainability programs drive rapid time to value.

Nearly 77 percent said they believe that environmental issues pose an economic threat to their businesses. And more than two thirds said their companies are poised to implement conservation practices that they believe will lead to significant financial and environmental gains. Thirty-five percent of respondents said they expect ROI within 24 months.

Meanwhile, Autodesk Inc. and the American Institute of Architects said its 2008 Autodesk/AIA Green Index shows an increase in sustainable design practices by architects and building owners. It also said architects' clients have experienced a doubling in market demand for green buildings in the past year, as well as positive shifts in architects' attitudes about their ability to affect climate change.

Client demand remains the leading driver for green building, according to the index.