In the opening keynote, Dan Geiger, Executive Director, U.S. Green Building Council USGBC – Northern California Chapter, noted that green building has been a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy market. Total construction starts were down 24% in 2009, he said, but “the good news is that green construction is growing like mad.”Geiger cited figures from McGraw-Hill Construction’s Green Outlook 2011. From 2008 to 2010, he said, the value of green construction increased by 50%. “Within a down market, green is up,” he said.
The growth is not limited to new construction. McGraw-Hill predicts three- to five-fold growth in major green retrofit projects from 2010 to 2015. Forty-two percent of businesses surveyed said that net-zero energy building presents a business opportunity.
Geiger also noted the evolution of LEED Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design guidelines. Every two or three years, he said, LEED raises the bar. The trajectory of improvement, he said, suggests that LEED Platinum will likely mean net-zero energy construction by 2018; by 2030, LEED Platinum will likely mean “regenerative” buildings.