Green building industry reports gains

Some housing trends come and go, barely staying long enough to make a serious impact upon most Americans' lives. However, other factors manage to gain a foothold and have a lingering impact. The United States green building market is continuing to grow, according to McGraw-Hill Construction's 2013 Dodge Construction Green Outlook report.

The value of the green construction industry is growing, and so is the consumer demand for one of these properties. The report claims that in 2012, the market, which includes commercial and residential construction projects, is expected to be worth $85 billion. By 2013 this figure is expected to rise to somewhere between $98 billion and $106 billion. In 2016, the green construction industry is predicted to grow to between $204 billion and $248 billion.

"We're seeing tremendous growth in green building, providing a bright light in an otherwise uncertain economy," said Harvey M. Bernstein, vice president, Industry Insights and Alliances for McGraw-Hill Construction. "Not only does this mean a strong outlook for green building, but also the benefits that go along with that: more jobs, greater financial benefits from green and high performance buildings, stronger competitive positioning for those firms that build green and healthier work and learning environments for our population."

According to the report, green building is expected to encompass about 44 percent of all commercial and institutional construction in 2012, growing up to 55 percent by 2016. Residential green construction makes up about 20 percent of the market and is predicted to grow to 22 to 25 percent in the upcoming year. Comprising approximately one quarter of the market would equate to $34 to $38 billion in profits. By 2016, the industry is expected to make about $89 to $116 billion based on current single-family residential forecasted figures.

In states like California, the percentage of residential properties dedicated to green construction practices and materials is most likely much higher than in other areas of the country, which means real estate in San Jose are in a key spot. As the second greenest state in the United States, Californians are doing their part to implement sustainable technology. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's (ACEEE) 2012 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard claims that the improved utility sector options and energy efficient programs available in California make the state a hub for green construction professionals and potential homeowners looking for environmentally-friendly properties.

The City of San Jose's Green Vision has established sustainability as a priority for the metro. Officials have worked to develop the city's Green Building Policies to improve its ability to protect the local environment by developing new building codes that emphasis energy efficiency and sustainability.

According to the United States Department of Energy's Center for Sustainable Development, buildings consume 40 percent of the world's total energy, 25 percent of its wood harvest and 16 percent of its water. By advocating for the inclusion of green technology and improved sustainability processes, San Jose city officials are hoping to improve the quality of life of local area residents.

The city has identified the following benefits of improving its sustainable practices – lower energy and water utility costs, enhanced health and productivity, long-term economy returns and reduced negative environmental impact.

A study titled, "Value of Green Labels in the California Housing Market," found that a typical California home valued at $400,000 can sell for an additional $34,800 - 8.7 percent more - if it is outfitted and advertised as an energy-efficient property, according to The Los Angeles Times. The median price of a single-family home in San Jose was $536,056 as of November 16, 2012.

If a homeowner increased the cost of a median-priced property by 8.7, the house's value would improve by $46,637 due to attaining green certification. Potential homebuyers are looking for real estate in San Jose that has achieved greater energy efficiency.