Green construction is here to stay, James Bidgood, a partner at Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP, told attendees of “The Hidden Risks of Green Building,” an interactive webinar that WPL Publishing held Oct. 26. “Notwithstanding the fact that the construction industry is very depressed right now, we continue to see more and more green building requirements finding their way into legislation [and] local codes, and I don’t see any indication that those are going to go away for any reason. I believe that green construction is going to continue to increase.”
Green construction will continue to thrive because, among other reasons, “green works,” Bidgood told webinar attendees. He pointed to a U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) study of 12 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design buildings, which found that those buildings consumed 26 percent less energy, obtained a 13 percent reduction in maintenance costs, earned a 27 percent higher satisfaction rating, and a garnered a 33 percent lower carbon footprint than their traditional counterparts.
“These data suggest that there certainly are reasons [why] we should consider green construction for projects, and even though not much construction is being done or new construction is being done these days, I think most every time you see a new building project going on, there is some element of green or sustainability or high performance involved in it.
Recent government endeavors also suggest that green construction is here to stay, Bidgood said. One of the most significant initiatives promoting green construction is the International Green Construction Code, which has been adopted in Rhode Island and Maryland, he said, noting that more states are expected to follow suit.
“On the local level, we know that there are green regulations of some kind in virtually every state,” Bidgood told webinar attendees. “Many municipalities have adopted them,” including Washington, D.C., which as of last January requires a green bond for certain projects. Non-residential projects exceeding 50,000 square feet must have a bond to guarantee that they will be certified when they are completed. Miami-Dade County in Florida also has adopted a green bond requirement.
The webinar was targeted to various types of professionals in the construction community, including design professionals, architects, engineers, owners, contractors, subcontractors, and attorneys.