U.S. green building sector packs a serious economic punch

Fri, 2015-10-09 06:00 -- SCC Staff

Communities that embrace green construction are reaping serious economic benefits. A new study finds that demand for green building is so strong that the sector grows, even when other types of construction falter. Communities that encourage it are benefiting through a strong tax base and job market.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a Council Advisor, finds that the green building sector is growing faster than overall construction. Its new study calls green construction in the U.S. a major economic driver.

“Green building is playing a massive role in the U.S. construction sector, the clean and efficient energy sector and the U.S. economy as a whole,” said USGBC CEO and founding chair Rick Fedrizzi. “More than 2.3 million U.S. workers are taking home $134 billion annually in large part because of green building programs like LEED. Demand for green building will only continue to grow as individuals, businesses and institutions continue to prioritize sustainable approaches to the design, construction and operations of our built environment.”

Strong economic contribution that's growing
Prepared for USGBC by Booz Allen Hamilton, the 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study also delved into the green building sector’s various economic contributions to individual states and quantified the economic impact of green building and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The construction of LEED-certified buildings will account for about 40% of the green construction industry's overall contribution to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And it's growing fast.

In three years, the study forecasts there will be more than 3.3 million jobs in green construction and labor earnings will reach $190.3 billion. Also, the industry contribution to GDP should hit $303.5 billion by 2018.

The sector’s contribution to individual states’ tax revenues will grow significantly too, according to the study. And overall, green building will be responsible for cost savings in energy, waste, water and maintenance.

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