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Surge Seen for Green Building Materials

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

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Demand for recycled concrete, permeable pavement and other green building materials is expected to jump by 11 percent annually through 2017, hitting a record $86.6 billion, a new study projects.

The spike in demand will be driven by rebounding construction activity and continuing consumer interest in environmentally friendly products, reports The Freedonia Group Inc., an international business research firm.

Green materials will outpace their non-green counterparts in the coming years, Freedonia reports in Green Building Materials to 2017.

Cherokee mixed use loft
Calderoliver / Wikimedia Commons

Many green building materials, including recycled concrete made with fly ash and zero-VOC paints and coatings, were used to construct this mixed-use building, designed by Lawrence Scarpa architects, in Hollywood, CA.

Opting for LEED points

“Growth in residential construction will promote base demand for such products as carpeting, gypsum board, concrete, and metal building products, while products that contribute to the earning of LEED certification will see an additional boost in sales,” the group said in releasing the report.

From 2012 to 2017, builders and architects will increasingly choose to earn high levels of LEED certification by specifying the use of materials that earn LEED points, the Cleveland, OH-based market research firm said.

Residential HVAC systems, lumber harvested in a sustainable manner, and concrete made with fly ash can all contribute to LEED certification, and are forecast to see above-average gains in demand, the firm reported.

Recycled and Permeable Concrete

“Recycled concrete will see rising use, as concrete made with fly ash and other additives features superior performance properties and is less costly than concrete made solely from cement and aggregates,” Freedonia Group said.


Demolished concrete in good condition can be used in new construction, according to industry sources.

(Note: The use of recycled concrete in buildings still faces obstacles, both real and perceived. See “Recycled Concrete: Rocky Road to Growth,” a Durability + Design News report on this green building material.)

In addition, permeable pavement demand will be propelled by interest in reducing water runoff and minimizing strains on older sewer and water systems, the group relates. Permeable pavement is expected to grow 28.1 percent annually through 2017.

Solar Prospects Shine

Demand for solar-powered products will continue to surge, the group said.

Solar-power products saw explosive growth between 2002 and 2012, driven by increasing installation of rooftop-based solar-power modules connected to electricity distribution systems. 

The group anticipates that going forward, favorable tax incentives and strong interest in the use of renewable energy sources will promote demand for LEED-eligible solar power products.

Founded in 1985, the Freedonia Group publishes more than 100 industry research studies annually. The new report costs $5,100 and is available on the company’s website.


Tagged categories: Architects; Building materials; Concrete; Green building; Green design; LEED; Recycled building materials; Specifiers

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