- Penn State University and the United Nations are partnering in the Global Building Network program, a system of professional organizations and research institutions that intends to document and suggest frameworks for healthier and more sustainable buildings, reported The Daily Collegian.
- The network said it will use research and education to implement changes worldwide and convince people those changes are worth making. The research involves documenting and developing technologies for different building cultures. The education component will focus on helping building designers to occupants understand the benefits of sustainable construction.
- Vancouver, Pittsburgh, New York, Brussels and Geneva will host municipal Centers of Excellence that will share data and develop and design monitoring tools, as well as implement standard principles for their building industry environments.
Several factors contribute to the need for improving sustainability in buildings, said James Freihaut, technical director of Penn State at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia and professor of architectural engineering, including global warming and urbanization.
"The idea was," he said, " 'How do we establish a methodology where, even though we know there will be implementation differences across different economic zones and different countries, we'll follow this methodology that will lead to continuous improvement in buildings’ performance?'"
Myriad factors can impact building performance. Capital E issued a report last month examining the cost-benefit of implementing smart surface solutions in El Paso, Texas, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Smart surfaces include green roofs, solar panels, permeable pavement and reflective pavement. The analysis concluded that throughout a 40-year period the cities would save $538 million, $3.6 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively.
Selecting appropriate materials goes a long way toward optimizing building performance, and the numbers suggest a worldwide adoption of more sustainable materials. A fall 2017 report from Research and Markets forecasts the world market for sustainable construction materials will hit $187 billion by 2026, which represents an 11.6% compounded annual growth rate between 2017 and 2026. Although North America dominates with a market share of 34.7% by volume, followed by Europe and Asia Pacific, Asia Pacific has the highest potential to grow in the forecast period because of emerging economics like China and India.
Some states and cities are exploring requiring sustainable materials. The Buy Clean Act in California requires contractors working on state projects to buy lower-carbon construction materials from low-carbon producers.