Blogs > Sara Gutterman > December 2012 > The Looking Glass

The Looking Glass

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to talk with Michael Deane, VP Chief Sustainability Officer at Turner Construction, one of the largest of the largest construction management companies in the U.S. (2011 construction volume of $8 billion.)

Turner recently published their latest Green Building Market Barometer report, in which they predict a conclusively positive forecast for the green building sector.

The report, which compiles survey results from over 700 building sector executives from across the country, affirms that “companies remain committed to constructing environmentally-sustainable buildings. Almost all the executives participating in the 2012 survey said their companies would incorporate at least some green features in their next construction project, citing the potential to reduce energy costs and ongoing operations and maintenance costs as the most important reasons for constructing green buildings.”

During our conversation, Deane avowed that consumer demand for green building features, benefits, and products is higher than ever and growing exponentially. Not surprisingly, he reported that the most compelling impetus for consumers and building owners to request green products and spaces is an interest in cost savings through energy efficiency, followed closely by improved indoor air quality.

Deane is concerned that only 39% of respondents claimed that they are making sustainable choices to reduce their carbon footprint. “I feel that the environment has been lost in the conversation. We’re so focused on money and improving our lifestyles, we’re forgetting about important environmental externalities.”

While the commitment to green building continues to rise, Deane pointed out that fewer companies are interested in certification, particularly under the LEED rating system, due to the extra time, expense, and difficulty associated with such programs. He believes that emerging alternative rating systems, codes, and even companies’ own internal accreditations will create a diverse and competitive certification marketplace in the future.

When I asked him what’s in store for Turner Construction, he said, “we know how to construct green buildings. Now, we’re moving towards the next evolution in sustainable construction.” Deane is keeping his eyes on products and practices that will enable buildings to be net-zero energy and net-zero water, benign materials, and the Living Building Challenge (which he feels has a more holistic and comprehensive approach to sustainable building than other rating systems available in the market today.) Additionally, Turner is prioritizing jobsite waste reduction and greening its supply chain.

Deane confirmed that green has become primarily client driven, and that Turner regularly wins bids because of its strong portfolio of sustainable buildings.

What do you think is the next evolution of green building? Write to me at or follow me on Twitter @SaraGBM.

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Posted: 12/13/2012 2:23:02 PM by Mary Kestner | with 0 comments

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