Construction expected to grow greener

If the interest in all things green is a fad, it’s a fad with legs, according to builders included in a recent survey.

Research from McGraw-Hill Construction suggests that broadly defined “green” building is expected to be worth $12 billion to $20 billion this year, or 6% to 10% of the market. That’s expected to double in five years, according to the researchers.

Along the way, the LEED acronym (it stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is becoming increasingly familiar to consumers: More than 1,500 buildings have received LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council since the program was introduced in 2000, and more than 11,000 are seeking the designation, according to the council, a nonprofit that administers the program.

LEED attempts to quantify sustainable site development, water usage, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and other “green” factors.

Recently, the council announced plans to expand LEED certification to subdivisions and neighborhoods. The neighborhood designation has been a pilot program for about a year and will expand in earnest in mid-2009, according to a spokesman for the council.


-- Mary Umberger