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Table of Contents

Review of Books on Green Buildings – Part 13


The Green Building Revolution

(by Jerry Yudelson)

Table of contents

Chapter 1: Today’s Green Buildings


  1. The Start of the Revolution
  2. The Current Market for Green Buildings
  3. The Policy Case for Green Buildings
  4. Government Leadership and Private Sector Initiatives
  5. Drivers of Green Buildings


Architectural firms, design agencies, engineering companies, specialized consulting agencies, and even small architectural firms have now turned to green marketing. It is leading a way into a new revolution as they subscribed to the LEED evaluating and rating systems. Hence, the sustainable way to construction and design is becoming more revolutionized.

Green buildings actually means being helpful to the environment and the concept of being a "good neighbor" is not just for constructions but also for the greater community. Construction builders and professionals have realized the benefits of the green buildings and its social effect for the concern for the environment.

The country’s economic and professional markets continue to expand and it will experience unprecedented human resource shortage which needs to be taken into serious anticipation. The market for green or sustainable buildings has shown a remarkable increase in demand through the past several years. There are products which can be remade into biologically friendly and useful products after their useful life. Hence, there will a trend wherein the architects, builders and other construction professional will specify the uses of their products and how they can be recycled into something else.

Companies will have to maintain their standards if they want to be patronized by the markets. Construction and design firms will need to incorporate their designs and new products in making them more appealing to their customers. They need to integrate the “new wave” of sustainable designs into their present projects so as to innovate the marketing and products changes in the industry.

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Chapter 2: What is a Green Building?


  1. The LEED Rating Systems
  2. LEED for New Construction
  3. LEED for Core and Shell Buildings
  4. LEED for Commercial Interiors
  5. LEED for Existing Buildings
  6. Typical Green Building Measures
  7. Other Green Building Rating Systems


A green building is a high performance property which highly regards the environment and human health in its construction and materials. It is certified by the LEED Green Building Rating System of the U.S. Green Building Council. There are four major LEED rating systems and these are as follows:

  1. LEED for New Construction – LEED-NC
  2. LEED for Core and Shell – LEED-CS
  3. LEED for Commercial Interiors – LEED-CI
  4. LEED for Existing Buildings – LEED-EB

The essence of the LEED rating system is that it is a point based system, which allows vastly different buildings to be compared in general. The LEED rating is a form of an “eco label” that shows the environmental attribute of a project. LEED-NC is for all the new buildings, main renovations and four story houses and above. LEED-CS is usually employed by a speculative developer who manages less than 50 percent of the final outputs of a building. LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) is mainly designed to provide ample and sustainable space for tenants, which take up only a considerable retail space in the base building system. As such, their take up on the total impact of water and electricity, including open spaces, landscaping, or storm water management usage is minimal. LED-EB is originally created to assure the accountability of an ongoing LEED-NC building through the years. Green buildings use measure in order to maintain their eco labels.

Chapter 3: The Business Case for Green Buildings


  1. Incentives and Barriers to Green Development
  2. Overcoming Barriers to Green Buildings
  3. Benefits That Build a Business Case: Economic Benefits, Productivity Benefits, Risk-Management Benefits, Health Benefits, Public Relations and Marketing Benefits, and Recruitment and Retention Benefits
  4. Financing Green Projects


There are three basic approaches to determine the demand for green buildings. These are: segmentation, customer or client motivations and unmet needs. Segments include the geography, the location, price sensitivity, business purpose, among others. Motivations include the value which customers look for in turning green. They may want it for higher productivity or prestige or satisfaction of their stakeholders’ demands. Lastly, unmet needs are those which the conventional building standards do not address.

The external factors include costs, growing green building information expertise, cost information, soft costs, external events, social and cultural changes, technological changes, political and legal changes, economic changes, industry practices, and certification programs. All these affect the marketing of green buildings. The major consideration is definitely the costs. However, it must also be recognized that there are continuous barriers to the widespread subscription to the green building methods, systems and innovations. For one, the impression of costs is always there.

While the cost is the major barrier to greening buildings, it can be surmounted through other factors. Short term prospects are positive, with the author forecasting an “early minority” stage for LEED programs in 2007. This is very attractive to the LEED market share. Green building promotes more competition in the construction markets. With the costs being managed, it will be more advantageous for developers to pursue green projects. As economic activities remain buoyant; there is a good appreciation of the improved productivity. This can be harnessed with healthier and sustainable indoor air spaces which reduce additional costs from one to five percent of employee costs.

Chapter 4: The Case of Green Buildings


  1. Cost Drivers for Green Buildings
  2. The 2003 Cost Study for the State of California
  3. High Performance on a Budget
  4. The Davis Langdon Cost Studies
  5. The 2004 GSA Cost Study
  6. Integrated Design Reduces Costs

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The main barrier to green buildings is its perceived costs. This is because the earlier projects of green buildings were really costly. However, many designs and construction teams have moved the increased costs to a more conventional level. This chapter discusses the main factors which determine the costs of a green building. It includes the following:

  1. It depends on the design team and the owner. For instance, if they are designing a LEED Platinum Building, they will have to use green roofs and photo voltaic, which are expensive.
  2. It also depends on the stage where the greening (or the sustainable design and construction) is decided. It is best and least costly to decide it at the earliest stage possible so that even the site selection is considered in a green project.
  3. It also depends on the experience of the design and the construction team with green projects. The more experienced they are, the lesser the costs.

The widely cited cost study of green building is the Davis Langdon project in 2004 which was updated in early 2007. It showed that a green building costs not greater than the conventional building when the normalized years of completion and location are considered. Their study also manifested that the greatest cost driver is the building program, which is what the building aimed to achieve.

Chapter 5: The Future of Green Buildings


  1. Growth Rates of Green Building by Market Sector
  2. Market Factors Influencing Green Building
  • More Commercial and Institutional Green Projects
  • Tax Incentives
  • Higher Oil and Natural Gas Prices
  • Movement Back into the Cities
  • More Green Homes on the Market
  • Local Government Incentives
  • Growing Awareness of Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Global Warming
  • Pressure on Companies to Conduct Sustainable Operations
  • The Competitive Advantage of Green Homes
  1. The Larger Picture
  2. Barriers to Green Buildings and Green Development
  3. Triggers for Green Building
  4. Beyond LEED


According to the author, the green building revolution will keep on accelerating even when the government or the President approves it or not. It will help if the U.S. Congress passes the latest energy bill since it will support the use of renewable energy systems (i.e. solar photo voltaic). These materials will be widespread and their extensive use will result to more green buildings, which, in turn, will obviously spur energy conservation endeavors in both old and new buildings.

The growth of green building will far exceed the general growth of the business and the residential building industry over the next 5 years. Over the next few years, the world will see how architects and engineers rigidly achieve a 50 percent reduction in the use of building energy from the present baseline data. The author predicted that more than 2,500 new green building projects will seek LEED certification during the year. Another 4,000 or more will try to get LEED certification over the next year and this amounts to a total of more than 12, 000 LEED-registered projects, each with a median costs of about $15 million.

Chapter 6: The International Green Building Revolution


  1. Global Green Building Status
  2. The World Green Building Council
  3. Australia
  4. Canada
  5. China
  6. India
  7. Spain


The World Green Building Council is an umbrella organization national Green Building Councils. It is the biggest international organization affecting the market’s greening of its buildings. This council aims to assist the global transformation of the building industry in the framework of sustainability by virtue of various market driven systems. It promotes and supports new and developing Green Building Councils all over the world through its tools and systems of building a strong organizations and leadership status in their respective countries.

The World Green Building Council also works for the general interests of green building efforts to mitigate climate change. By initiating global collaboration and enhancing the features of the green building market, the council ensures that green buildings are a standard part of a comprehensive approach in the implementation of the carbon emission reductions.

In Australia, the Green Building Council has a Steel Stewardship Forum which intends to develop an industry-extensive certification system to show the credentials and environmental standards of its steel industry. In Canadian, they also have a version of LEED which is the same as that of the U.S. Green Building Council version. It has the following categories: sustainable sites (SS), water efficiency (WE), energy and atmosphere (EA), materials & resources (MR), among others.

Chapter 7: The Revolution in Commercial Development


  1. Commercial Market Size
  2. Which Sector Builds the Most Green Buildings?
  3. The Business Case for Green Commercial Development
  4. The Business Case for Brown Development
  5. LEED for Core and Shell Helps Developers
  6. The Revolution Comes to Corporate Real Estate
  7. Industrial Buildings
  8. Socially Responsible Property Investing


Green buildings have a lot of economic incentives, especially for commercial establishments. For instance, it reduces several risk factors such as marketing, financing, etc. Even when the economic downturn and global financial crisis has affected the building industry in the last two years, the green building movement is likely to unceasingly gain market shares in the next five years.

The business standards for commercial green buildings in the United States and in Europe is basically being certified as a green building or being an outdated project the day it is completed and will be an underperforming market asset in the years to come. As the world emerges into more sustainable and greener innovations, the non complying buildings can be at risk at the end of the dynamic market convergence towards sustainable buildings. In the author’s estimation, the business case for green buildings will be the conventional way of constructing and building within the next two years.

In the light of these market developments, there are still several barriers to green buildings. These include the following: the additional costs are perceived to be a major hindrance. More than this, the builders, investors and stakeholders should consider the many commercial and aesthetics as well as the ecological and social benefits of green building.

Chapter 8: The Revolution in Government and Nonprofit Buildings


  1. The Government Buildings Market
  2. Green Building Drivers
  3. Integrated Design for Public Projects
  4. LEED Use by Government Agencies
  5. Exemplary Government and Nonprofit Projects

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The market for greening governmental facilities is also booming. In the US, the greening of government buildings is one of the largest single markets which are rapidly increasing. The types of public agency buildings with LEED goals include the following: police stations and emergency communications facilities, fire stations, forensic labs, pools and recreation facilities, community and senior centers, libraries, museums, and visitor facilities, performing arts centers, convention centers, airports, among others.

In terms of building structures, the greatest sizes are those of federal buildings followed by state buildings. The US General Services Administration has been one of the innovators in adopting LEED standards and they are also pushing for “Design Excellence” program. Another big potential market is the healthcare facilities. At present, is still represent a small portion of the green building government markets. The first LEED certified medical facility is the Community Foothill Hospital in Boulder, Colorado which was built in 2003. It is not yet certain that nonprofits, who are mostly behind healthcare and medical facilities (aside from the government), have a strong commitment to green buildings.

There are incentives for green building and these ranges from tax rebates to faster permit processes and payments from utility energy-efficiency programs and direct financial payment via grants or rebates. These programs are selective to registrants that registered as LEED certified as they would be assumed to be encouraging the use of the said standard.

Chapter 9: The Revolution in Education


  1. Green Buildings in Higher Education
  2. Greening Secondary Education
  3. Benefits of Green Schools
  4. The Green Schools Report


Institutes of higher education are national leaders in green building on campuses and sustainability efforts. A radical growth of campus ranking system on sustainability has manifested their commitment. Also, institutes of higher education see themselves as a leader in climate change consciousness and mitigation. Thus, 680 of them have signed the American College & University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). They promised to reduce their nominal greenhouse gas emissions through a set up mechanism such as task force which can guide their ways. They also completed a greenhouse gas inventory and created a climate change action plan which set up a target date and pragmatic steps for being neutral.

There are higher education buildings which accounted for 15% of all LEED project listings in all four main rating systems, on the average. These were between 2002 and 2009. There was a remarkable cumulative growth of registration into the LEED project in higher education from the said years. On average, buildings on college and university campuses are projected to be 13% of all LEED project certifications in all four main rating systems, on the average. It is interesting to note that some LEED registrants do not make it to certification. At the final leg of 2009, the accumulated LEED project registration grew from 2002 to 2009. There were at least 571 LEED projects on campuses which was LEED certified by 2009.

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