Yudelson’s “Top Ten” Green Building Trends for 2009

By Jerry Yudelson
January 15, 2009

Green building will continue to grow in spite of the
global credit crisis and the ongoing economic recession
in most countries.

What we’re seeing is that more people are going green
each year, and there is nothing on the horizon that will
stop this trend. In putting together my Top Ten trends
for 2009, I’m taking advantage of conversations I’ve had
with green building leaders in the U.S., Canada, Europe
and the Middle East the past year.

My “Top Ten” trends include the following:

Green building will continue to grow more than 60
percent in 2009, on a cumulative basis. We’ve seen
cumulative growth in new LEED projects over 60 percent
per year since 2006, in fact 80 percent in 2008, and
there’s no sign that the green wave has crested.
Green building will benefit from the new Obama
presidency, with a strong focus on green jobs in
energy efficiency, new green technologies and
renewable energy. This trend will last for at least
the next four years.

The focus of green building will begin to switch from
new buildings to greening existing buildings. The
fastest growing LEED rating system in 2008 was the
LEED for Existing Buildings program, and I expect this
trend to continue in 2009.

Awareness of the coming global crisis in fresh water
supply will increase, leading building designers and
managers to take further steps to reduce water
consumption in buildings with more conserving
fixtures, rainwater recovery systems and innovative
new water technologies.

LEED Platinum-rated projects will become more
commonplace as building owners, designers and
construction teams learn how to design for higher
levels of LEED achievement on conventional budgets.
Solar power use in buildings will accelerate with the
extension of solar energy tax credits for buildings
through 2016 and the prospect of increasing utility
focus on renewable power goals for 2015 and 2020. As
before, third-party financing partnerships will
continue to grow and provide capital for large rooftop

Local governments will increasingly mandate green
buildings from both themselves and the private sector.
While concern over economic impacts of green buildings
mandates will be present, the desire to reduce carbon
emission by going green will lead more government
agencies to require green buildings.

Zero net energy designs for new buildings will gain
increasing acceptance in both public and private
buildings. In my books, I’ve shown that you can get
building energy use down to low levels with better
design, and that makes it easier and more
cost-effective to buy green power to displace the
remaining energy use.

Green homes will come to dominate new home
developments in more sections of the U.S., as builders
increasingly see green as a source of competitive
advantage. This trend was foreseen in my 2008 book,
Choosing Green (New Society Publishers), which for the
first time documented the large number of new green
housing developments in the U.S. and Canada.

European green building technologies will become
better known and more widely adopted in the U.S. and
Canada. My forthcoming 2009 book, Green Building
Trends: Europe (Island Press), will be out in the
spring and will help accelerate this trend, along with
more European architects and engineers opening offices
in the U.S.


Promoting Green Building Design, Construction and Operation, Sustainable Living,
Clean Technology, Renewable Energy Resources and Energy Independence