Energy savings is still the leading green building dynamic. In addition to substantial cost savings, new laws regulating energy usage and public reporting have upped the ante with regard to not only compliance, but also maintaining a good, green corporate citizenry brand.

2018 will see a groundswell of interest in one emerging trend: healthy buildings and wellness within them. Next are other trends worth noting.

Telecommuting is one on the rise as younger workers seek flexibility and self determination in their work and consider working from home to be a job perk, and employers seek to offset the brain drain of retiring baby boomers by keeping current employees.
Telecommuting reduces traffic congestion and, thereby, greenhouse emissions. Insofar as its impact on real estate, companies are reporting they save multimillions of dollars in real estate costs.

We’ve been proselytizing about green roofs for years, calling them the next great, green building revolution. Gorgeous, living architecture, green roofs are valuable to building owners and tenants alike. They create a sustainable environment for wildlife, reduce runoff, extend roof life, reduce AC and heating costs, serve as a fire and noise retardant, contribute to air quality, and greatly enhance a property’s marketability and value by providing viewable or useable garden and recreational space. They can also be used for sustainability points for certifications and give an owner bragging rights on their building’s green profile.

Trends in green roofs include greater emphasis on native plantings; “communities” of plantings that work together to improve the ecosystem; self-watering and fertilizing systems that take the emphasis off maintenance and place it on monitoring; and more easily moveable planting containers.

Seguing into the topic of wellness, which will be explored in depth in Part Two of 2018 Green Trends, is a connection between green roofs and building wellness – the growing popularity of free-standing, vertical living walls and gardens. It’s an easy, relatively inexpensive way to green up a reception area, lobby, conference or meeting space, office or landscape and can be purchased in various sizes, shapes and systems. Living walls add beauty, reduce energy costs, serve as sound barriers and are contributors to employees’ peace of mind.

Part Two will connect the dots between increased worker health and productivity, building value and going green.

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Steven_J._SchleiderBy Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD + C President, Metropolitan Valuation Services

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