5 New Trends in Green Building for CRE

Green building is more than a residential concept – it has become standard in the commercial industry too. Along with automation, artificial intelligence, Smart technology, and robotics, green building technology is helping to meet the new needs in CRE following these three trends:

#1: Building for Climate Disasters

Did you know that last year the U.S. suffered some of the worst financial losses due to extreme climate events than at any other time in history? The result is a renewed focus, even among the dwindling number of climate deniers, on protecting assets from increasingly extreme weather.

One of the top organizations for adopting green standards in CRE is the U.S. Green Building Council. In response to last year’s climate disasters, the council officially adopted a new ratings system (RELI) that will rate building readiness for extreme weather events.

From wildfires to blizzards, hurricanes to floods, buildings have to be stronger going forward. Puerto Rico alone is an example of how devastating some of these storms can be to entire cities. Developers and building designers are adopting a “resilience” standard as part of green building initiatives to overcome and withstand extreme weather.

#2: More Green Certification Options

LEED has been the leading building standard in green technology but this year, the trend is for more certification standards that cover a much wider range of risk mitigation. For instance there are standards for combating wildfires by reducing heat traps on roofs, defending against hurricanes in coastal regions, as well as standards for conservation and clean energy production. Some organizations adopting new certifications this year include the IWBI, the GRI, Fitwel, and BREAAM US, just to name a few.

#3: Company Green Values Growing in Importance

Researchers have been studying GenX and millennial culture for decades trying to understand the new pool of tenants and workers. One thing that has held true across all younger generations is the importance placed on their employer’s commitment to green principles of sustainability and conservation.

Perhaps because those 55 years old and younger have much more to fear from climate change than Boomers, being able to show tenants that your building is certified by a respected green building organization will help attract business.

#4: Workers Demanding Better Air

An emerging trend in CRE green building is the health angle to sustainability. Having a green building no longer only includes having energy saving HVAC systems and solar windows and panels. Now indoor air quality and tenant health and well being are standards counted as part of a building’s overall quality.

One study looked at seven different cities and found that the ideal indoor air quality can double “cognitive function” and increase productivity. According to another survey of 140 businesses, over 90% said that “wellness features” in an office building are “essential, mainstream, or an emerging need.”

#5: Solar Building Features Increasing

We don’t know what is going to happen internationally now that tariffs are causing the momentum behind solar energy to come to a screeching halt. However, states like California and Colorado are continuing to push the envelope for what is possible. Harnessing as much energy from the sun as possible and using it to power cities, homes, and buildings has been expanding rapidly for several years, quintupling since 2013.