LEED Losing Its Appeal, Survey Finds

by | Nov 12, 2012

Only 48 percent of construction and real estate executives think it is extremely or very likely that their company will seek LEED certification, down from 53 percent in 2010 survey and 61 percent in 2008, according to Turner Construction Company’s latest Market Barometer survey.

But the green-building company’s survey shows that 90 percent of these executives say their companies are committed to environmentally sustainable practices.

Among executives who said their companies were not likely to seek LEED certification, the most important reasons cited were the cost of the certification process (82 percent), staff time required (79 percent), time required for the process (75 percent), and the overall perceived difficulty of the process (74 percent).

Turner says this shows that companies are increasingly knowledgeable about how to design and construct a green building, and are less reliant on LEED as a checklist or scorecard.

Turner’s 2012 Green Building Market Barometer surveyed 718 executives in October. The executives participating in the survey were from the following types of companies: architecture (49 percent), construction (19 percent), real estate consulting (11 percent), corporate owner-occupant (9 percent), developer (9 percent), engineering (9 percent), real estate owners (7 percent), corporate tenant (3 percent), and broker/real estate service provider (2 percent), These percentages total to more than 100 percent because some companies were involved in more than one industry segment.

Of the 90 percent of respondents who said they are committed to environmentally sustainable practices, 56 percent said their companies were extremely or very committed, while an additional 34 percent said they were somewhat committed.

Executives were most likely to cite financial factors as being important to their companies’ decisions on whether to incorporate green features in a construction project. Respondents said energy efficiency (84 percent) and ongoing operations and maintenance costs (84 percent) were extremely or very important to their decisions.

The next most popular considerations included the belief that green building is the “right thing to do,” (68 percent), impact on brand/reputation (67 percent), customer requirements (61 percent) and cost savings (66 percent).

However, only 37 percent of executives said it was extremely or very important to their companies to minimize the carbon footprint of their buildings.

Turner says this suggests that the decision to incorporate sustainable features is driven by a desire to reduce cost, rather than broader concerns about the impact of buildings on the global environment.

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