Such “green” buildings as the LEED-certified Tesoro Corporation headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, designed by the global architecture firm Gensler, are driving increases in sales in both high-performance and traditional building materials. Wikimedia Commons/uniquebuildings
New research examines the green building market and finds opportunities for both high-performance and conventional materials.
May 21, 2013—The global market for materials used in green building construction is projected to more than double by 2020 from approximately $116 billion at present to more than $250 billion in 2020. This growth will affect not only such high-profile envelope materials as high-performance glass and insulation, but also such traditional materials as steel and concrete.
Those are the key findings of a new research report, “Materials in Green Buildings,” prepared by Navigant Research, a London-based independent research firm that specializes in analyzing emerging markets for environmentally “clean” technologies within the building industry.
“We looked at [three areas]—structures, envelopes, and interiors and finishes,” says Eric Bloom, a senior research analyst with Navigant who prepared the report. “What really came to the forefront for us was the significant opportunity in green building construction for structural materials that don’t necessarily save energy.”
Bloom explains that in the European market, which is projected to lead the world in the growth of green buildings over the next seven years, the market for materials used on buildings’ envelopes will grow to $23.1 billion, while the market for structural materials will be $21.5 billion by that time.
“Because green buildings are constructed using a lot of the same fundamental construction techniques as the industry overall, the growth of green buildings is good news for companies that sell timber, steel, metal, and concrete,” Bloom says.
The green building market for construction materials is projected to approximately double to nearly $100 billion in Europe, driven largely by such government policies as the European Union Energy Efficiency Directive and the European Union Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. These measures establish requirements for the energy efficiency of buildings and require regular inspections of mechanical systems.
“Europe has traditionally been at the forefront of green building and energy efficiency, largely through regulatory mechanisms,” Bloom explains. “There are also built-in markets for better insulation, particularly in the Nordic countries, Germany, and here in the U.K., because of the colder, harsher environment.”
The market in North America, which is largely voluntary and driven by private-sector factors, is projected to nearly double to approximately $60 billion by 2020. Bloom says that the sluggish economic recovery in the United States is a factor weighing on growth.
“Green building has grown much faster than the construction market [overall] over the last four years and I think that’s a trend that will continue, as well,” Bloom says. “But it is still dependent, largely, on the broader availability of capital for new construction projects.”
Growth in Asia is projected to more than double in the next seven years, led to a great extent by China, which has established ambitious energy efficiency goals in its 12th five-year plan.
“China is responsible for about 60 percent of the new construction in any given year, worldwide,” Bloom explains. “So even if only a little bit of that market is green, it scales very quickly. Because buildings are responsible for anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of energy consumption, there’s no way China is going to meet its energy efficiency targets over the next five years without driving considerable investment into energy efficient technology and other green building materials.”
Navigant conducted both primary and secondary research to prepare the report. The firm interviewed 30 key building materials manufacturers, including several who specialize in high-performance green building materials. The firm also examined existing research, existing and pending government regulations, and policy white papers.
“We saw a gap in the global coverage of the green building materials market and saw an opportunity for us to provide a unique perspective,” Bloom explains.