Green Building Business Booming In Canada

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Posted by Heidi Schwartz

Green Buildings CanadaThe Canadian green building market is poised to see strong growth over the next three years, with surveyed Canadian firms expecting to grow their green practices from one third in 2014, to one half by 2017. These findings are part of a new report prepared by McGraw Hill Construction and commissioned by the Canada Green Building Council. The report, titled Canada Green Building Trends: Benefits Driving the New and Retrofit Market, is the first of its kind in Canada.

Among its many findings, the report demonstrates that companies that invest in green buildings are seeing significant dividends on their investments, including:

  • 82% of building owners and developers reported decreases in energy consumption in their green buildings compared to similar buildings.
  • 68% of building owners and developers reported decreases in water consumption in their green buildings.
  • The median reduction in operating costs over five years for green buildings reported by the firms included in the research is 17%.
  • The median payback for the investment in a new green building is reported to be eight years, a finding consistent with paybacks on studies McGraw Hill has conducted in the U.S. and globally.

In addition, green renovation projects increase building asset values, with a 4% median increase reported by architects and owners that have worked on green building projects. This is consistent with data reported globally and in the U.S. in previous studies conducted by McGraw Hill Construction, and it contributes to mounting evidence that green buildings have stronger value in the real estate marketplace.

While the above financial benefits are critical to the growth of green building in Canada, other triggers and social factors play an important role as well. 

  • Client demand and “doing the right thing” were the top triggers for future green building in the Canadian construction market, with 42% of respondents selecting these triggers as one of their top two. This emphasis on a combination of business and social motives is helping to propel the strong performance of green building in the next few years, as predicted by surveyed building owners, architects and contractors
  • 60% of the survey respondents, who conducted green building projects, consider the ability of green buildings to promote greater health and well-being among occupants to be the most important social reason that they chose to invest in green.

Survey respondents also recognized that building green is key to the creation of high performing buildings.

  • 62% of the building owners, architects and contractors surveyed considered having a higher-quality building as an important benefit of green building.
  • 73% of the firms that use a green building rating system report that better performing buildings are an important benefit of using a rating system.

“This report confirms that the Canadian marketplace recognizes that a rigorous approach to green building improves the quality of building projects and sets the stage for realizing financial, environmental and health benefits,” says Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council. “The business case for green buildings in Canada is strong, which translates into growing demand and investment over the next three years.”  

“This report is exciting because it demonstrates that the majority of the Canadian green building market recognizes the value that healthy green buildings have,” says Harvey Bernstein, Vice President of Industry Insights and Alliances at McGraw Hill Construction. “As research continues to demonstrate the value of these investments on companies’ productivity and the bottom line, we think that occupant health and satisfaction is going to be an even more critical driver in the future.”

These and other findings are available in the Canada Green Building Trends: Benefits Driving the New and Retrofit Market Report through the CaGBC. To view a copy of the Canada Green Building Trends Report, click here. This report was sponsored by Oxford Properties Group, REALpac, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

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