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Greenbuild 2011: Public Support for Green Declining


Greenbuild 2011.


How has the Great Recession impacted consumer demand for green buildings?  I believe this is a question we will grapple with for years to come. 

A recent report titled "Dollars and Sense" published by CBRE seems to suggest that support for green buildings is waning.  The report should soon be available on the CBRE website and the company provided a preview during Greenbuild. 

The report studied owner and occupant opinions that arose from the use of 147 green buildings. Obviously, the report relies on a small sample size but the results are interesting none the less. 

First some good news:

Among the buildings studied, the average Energy Star score in 2011 was 89, which is an improvement on the two previous years' scores.  CBRE also found that buildings that were sub-metered showed a reduction of 21 percent in energy costs. 

Now the bad news: 

The downturn is negatively impacting the green committment of companies.  

For the report, CBRE polled occupants about the importance being in a green building.  Across a number of facotrs, there was a market decline in terms of occupants stating green buildings were important for their businesses.  The CBRE representative that discussed the report speculated that the declining attitudes about green building may be the result of the economy or political discourse. I would highly recommend that you take a closer look at the data when it is released. 

As I thought about this data, I looked up at the many company signs in the Greenbuild exhibition hall. Something struck me -- the company signage did not include the word "green."  I even snapped a photo for you to see.  At past Greenbuild conferences, you could not throw a rock without hitting the word green. 

During his keynote address at Greenbuild, New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman stated that we will know when the green revolution has occurred because the word green will disappear.   

Why are attitudes about green changing?

Photo by razvan ionut.