Take the LEED
by Therese Dunphy, Editor-in-Chief
Throughout recent months, members of the aggregate industry have focused laser-like attention on President Obama’s economic stimulus package and the $27.5 billion it allocates for quick-start highway projects around the nation. And rightly so; it injects much-needed funding into projects that serve at the heart of the nation’s ability to move goods and services and creates good jobs for American workers. But in the interests of market diversity, operators should also consider another market opportunity – green construction.
A growing number of commercial and residential construction projects seek certification through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. And while many general construction projects have been stymied, green building continues to grow.
Turner Construction Co.’s “Green Building Barometer” indicates that 75 percent of commercial real estate executives say the credit crunch won’t discourage them from building green. Conversely, 83 percent indicate they would be “extremely” or “very” likely to seek LEED certification for buildings in the queued up for the next three years.
Green residential construction also fares better in a down housing market, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s 2008 SmartMarket Report, “The Green Home Consumer.” That study notes that 70 percent of home buyers are more or much more inclined to buy a green home over a conventional home in our current housing market, with that number climbing to 78 percent for households earning less than $50,000 per year.
Greener World Media reports that LEED-certified projects currently are tied to more than $10 billion worth of green materials. That figure is expected to climb to $100 billion by 2020.
So how can aggregate producers tap into this growing construction market? First, understand the LEED certification process. This certification provides third-party review and certification of buildings’ design, construction, and performance in five key areas: energy efficiency, water efficiency, materials and resources use, sustainable site development, and indoor air quality.
Next, assess the operation’s product offerings from a green builder’s perspective. How can these products help the builder tally up the necessary number of points to achieve certification? In this month’s Operations Illustrated and Carved in Stone segments, we offer examples of how aggregates can help achieve LEED certification in various construction projects, whether through proximity to the construction site or use in pervious concrete, porous asphalt, or permeable pavers.
Finally, approach green builders with practical ways to achieve their goals. When an operator can help a customer solve a business challenge, the operator is no longer a commodity provider, but a business partner.