Survey Finds Green Building is Standard

| October 25, 2018

Wellness is Becoming a Driving Force, but Resilience Lags Behind

STO Sustainability Survey 2018 summary infographic

New York – A recent survey conducted by construction management firm Structure Tone finds that green building is increasingly perceived as standard practice, employee wellness continues to be a pivotal selling point, and resilience planning lacks urgency.

Now in its third year, the anonymous survey was sent to a select group of senior corporate real estate and facilities management professionals, as well as a group of architects, brokers, consultants, engineers, and project managers for a more comprehensive snapshot of industry opinions.

Questions focused on the relevance of third-party certification systems, challenges to building green, and the increasing pressures of climate change and disastrous weather patterns in the built environment.

In comparison to last year’s results, the 2018 responses, collected informally and not as a scientific sampling, indicate that while some things have changed, others have not. The survey concluded that:

  • Sustainability has shifted from a market differentiator to an industry expectation. This year, 90% of respondents perceive green building as a code requirement, already mainstream, or becoming code as municipalities adopt more sustainable standards.
  • Wellness is a must. An overwhelming 93% think wellness is already a core requirement, and 69% consider it essential to their retention and recruitment.
  • While 79% agree LEED is the most respected third-party certification system, the perceived value of certifications in general has declined. Fifty-seven percent believe there are too many third-party rating systems, and only half of respondents understand what’s new in LEED v4. Also, over one-third of respondents say they will build to certification standards without seeking it. Another third will not seek certification at all.
  • Despite record high temperatures and costly storms, only 43% of respondents will be seeking external expertise in resilience planning to meet their real estate needs — a 0% change from last year’s results.
  • Contrary to the common assumption, generational differences had little impact on respondents’ opinions of sustainability, wellness, or resilience in the built environment.

“While it’s definitely a positive sign that LEED-like measures and stricter energy efficiency are becoming embedded in building codes, these findings may indicate that we’ve reached a certain level of complacency when it comes to sustainable design and construction,” says Jennifer Taranto, Structure Tone’s director of sustainability. “Benchmarks like third-party certification standards drive us forward and help our industry continue to innovate.”

Structure Tone’s sustainability team plans to continue conducting this survey on an annual basis. The hope is that as building practices and contextual circumstances change over time, the report will help detect and analyze the resulting trends and what impact they may have on the present and future state of sustainable building.


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Category: All, Life Science

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