Top 10 trends in green building for 2014
What are the major trends likely to affect the green building industry and markets in the U.S. in 2014? As one of the world's leading green building consultants, keynote speakers and authors, Jerry Yudelson thinks he knows the answers. In fact, his Top 10 list of green building megatrends has become an annual event.
At the top of Yudelson's 2014 list is the prediction that Green building in North America will continue its strong growth in 2014, with the ongoing expansion of commercial real estate construction together with government, university, nonprofit and school construction. “Green building is the tsunami of the future that will inundate the entire real estate industry,” says Yudelson.
The second trend on the list is the growing focus on energy efficiency in all kinds of buildings, including the increasing role of building automation for energy efficiency using cloud-based systems. “The convergence of corporate and commercial real estate, information technology that is based in the Cloud, and energy efficiency leads my list of new green building megatrends for 2014,” Yudelson says.
The third trend is the design and operation of zero-net-energy buildings. “We know that green building has hit the mainstream. To distinguish themselves, many building owners and developers are taking the logical next step: getting to zero net energy on an annual basis; Why? The most widespread reason is that more people than ever believe it's the right thing to do,” Yudelson says.
Rounding out Yudelson's top 10 trends for green building in 2014 are the following:
- LEED will attract competitors as never before. One reason: Recent Obama Administration actions have now put this system on a par with LEED for federal projects.
- The focus of the green building industry will continue its switch from new building design and construction to greening existing buildings. This trend has been in place since 2010. Yudelson predicts that more than 500 existing federal buildings will seek green building ratings in 2014.
- Green buildings will increasingly be designed and managed by innovative information technologies that are based in the "Cloud." In fact, Yudelson calls 2014, "The Year of the Cloud," for how quickly this trend will become fully established.
- Green building performance disclosure will continue as a major trend, highlighted by disclosure requirements enacted in 2013 by more than 30 major cities around the country, laws that require commercial building owners to disclose actual green building performance.
- Healthy building products, product disclosure declarations, along with various “Red Lists” of chemicals of concern, will become increasingly contentious, as manifested through such tools as Health product declarations.
- Solar power use in buildings will continue to grow. Yudelson expects that third-party financing offerings will continue to grow and provide capital for larger rooftop systems on low-rise commercial buildings, parking garages, warehouses and retail stores, as well as on homes.
- Yudelson says, “Awareness of the coming crisis in fresh water supply, both globally and in the U.S., will increase, as global climate change affects rainfall and water supply systems worldwide.”
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?
Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly