At the end of every year we read trends lists — trends predicted, trends seen, and the like. Yet no one ever checks half-way through the year those forecasts stack up. Let’s check out some prognostications on global green megatrends by the “Godfather of Green”, Jerry Yudelson.
International Green Building Trends
Yudelson is principal of Tucson-based Yudelson Associates and author of green building books such as Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis. The global megatrends are all about “frugal green”, he says. These trends include zero net energy buildings, addressing water concerns, building performance reports, LEED growth and a likely merge of various international green building codes such as UK-based BREEAM and Green Star (found in New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa).
It’s not only about droughts but also about having too much water, which makes sustainable infrastructure difficult. Fixtures can help create a water savings of 20% over local codes, as LEED suggests, but people are starting to want 50%. They’re going for rainwater capture in new and existing buildings, which are somewhat more easily accomplished among sites with large parking lots. For example, today a shopping centre can conserve a million gallons of water per year.
Black water treatment
“We are seeing new construction projects, especially in those aspiring to what I call max-green doing the highest level of green performance. They’re starting to look at how they recover wastewater treated on site and then reuse it again for those standard things like cooling and site irrigation. So instead of toilet-to-tap, we’re going toilet-to-toilet.”
Net zero energy buildings are gaining in green building forecasts. Yudelson said this is due in part to the success of the National Energy Renewal Lab in Colorado. These buildings have no net annual energy use, providing their own on-site renewable energy. Portland, Ore.-based International Living Building Institute is the go-to resource on zero-energy building, Yudelson says.
Yudelson says performance disclosures are “the Full Monty” of energy use in buildings. A growing number of countries are mandating these. They explain what energy is used, naturally, but also how it’s used and how high energy usages can be mitigated. Cities and even countries are quickly moving toward these because they keep the building’s future buyers more informed of their purchase.
Now, what do you think of Yudelson’s green building forecast? Do you see other trends not included here?
This post originally ran in Hong Kong-based Perspective Magazine.