Green Building Services Pinpoints 10 Design Trends to Look for in 2010

Here's what you can expect in terms of green this year ...

10. Existing Building Sustainability Focus

While much of the last decade had us focused on shiny new green buildings, the virtual collapse of new development has helped the industry refocus on greening existing buildings. Implementation of building audits, ENERGY STAR benchmarking, retro-commissioning, and policies and practices will not only green your building, but also may lead to the greening of your entire organization. 


9. Visibility of Building Performance Data

From building owners and facility managers to occupants and visitors, information is power. We expect building owners and facility managers to integrate systems that provide detailed information on building performance. Seizing scale-appropriate information is the key – from building portfolio tracking and whole building performance down to the individual occupant or receptacle, real change will come when the data is in clear view. Captured data and analysis will be leveraged to change behavior, make important capital expenditure decisions, and inform building certification.   


8. Occupant Engagement and Behavioral Change

To bring about the kind of dramatic energy reductions we have to make in the next decade, occupants have to be engaged early in the design process, trained on how to occupy and operate the building, and provided with detailed feedback on their own resource use within the building. Remarkably, building users are often completely left out of the process and treated as an unknown. 


7. Training and Education

Increasingly rigorous regulations, growing political support, a variety of incentives, and consumer preferences create opportunity for professionals and companies with demonstrated green building and LEED knowledge and expertise. Cities like Washington, D.C., now require energy reporting for commercial buildings; countries like Germany have outlawed air conditioning for certain building types; property management companies are certifying buildings in bulk; the LEED 2009 certification and professional programs are out and underway … there’s no time to stop and certainly no time to look back.


6. Green Leasing

Owners and tenants can forge partnerships and come away with a win-win scenario with thoughtful approaches to green leasing. For tenants and landlords who are interested in green measures for the space, education and relationship building facilitates making green building and operations part of the lease.  Developing a more collaborative relationship, the stage is set to make additions to the lease in the areas of IAQ, energy use, water use, recycling, carbon credits, tenant-build out, and green cleaning that will provide an incentive for the tenant and the landlord. The result is a more efficient building with less impactful operations. Often an afterthought in many green buildings, establishing this clear and detailed legal agreement ensures that green approaches are followed by the parties involved. 


5. Building Codes Close in on LEED

Government bodies are implementing code requirements that closely match the expectations of the LEED framework. Organizations that develop model codes, such as the International Codes Council and others, are raising code requirements to help address energy and environmental issues.  These sorts of changes in 2010 will continue to push the USGBC to expand their reach and modify their frameworks at the lower certification levels and beyond their Platinum rating as well as ensure a higher level of accountability. 


4. International Expansion of Green Building

With the growth of green building councils across the globe, the USGBC emphasizing international expansion, and the increase of international firsts in the second half of 2009, we are at the cusp of a wave of international projects going through certification. As more and more countries develop LEED and LEED-like standards, there continues to be a growing need to translate green building standards and requirements into country-specific approaches. 


3. Manufacturers and the Supply Chain Retool for the Green Economy

Vendors continue to work to differentiate themselves. All you need to do is walk the exhibition floor at a green conference to hear the emphasis vendors are placing on products with green, sustainable, and LEED characteristics. Through their internal practices and products, manufacturers will continue to push the market forward with their commitment to green (authentic or not). 


2. Green Building Goes to Scale

Eco-efficiency at scale will continue to be a hurdle for city planners. The European “eco-district” approach to a unified community of buildings is gaining traction in the United States. Portland’s Eco-districts program forges a new model for infrastructure, policy, and governance. LEED ND hits the streets! With the official rating system being released by the USGBC, this exciting standard applies to new master planned development, infill projects, and existing communities … just in time for the projected upswing in green development projected for the coming years.


1.  Living Building Challenge, Version 2.0

Nothing could be more exciting than the vision outlined in the new version of the Living Building Challenge. It’s a cohesive standard, pulling together the most progressive thinking in architecture, engineering, planning, landscape design, and policy. It challenges us to ask the question: “What if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place?”