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The Future of Construction


$1.3 Trillion

That's a very large number to wrap your head around. It's also the amount of worldwide revenue that net zero construction is expected to reach by 2035, according to a report titled "Zero Energy Buildings: Global Market, Regulatory and Technology Analysis for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Commercial and Residential Buildings," released earlier this year from Pike Research.

With numbers like that, it's hard to deny that net zero construction is the next frontier for the construction industry. It's easy to see the appeal of net zero construction-a building's ability to produce all of the energy that it needs.

The International Living Future Institute has certified three buildings so far under its Living Building Challenge, which certifies buildings that have obtained net zero energy and water, in addition to meeting advanced standards for material use and indoor environment quality. According to Sarah Costello, vice president, development and communications at the International Living Future Institute, approximately 140 projects at various stages are currently registered with the Challenge. Of those, 14 are in the process of completing the 12-month post-construction occupancy requirement before starting the certification process.

In this month's article, "The Future of Net Zero Buildings," I take a look at two companies that are already on the net zero bandwagon. Deland, Fla.-based Kingspan Insulated Panels Inc. has introduced a Net Zero Initiative that includes moving five Kingspan plants and three Morin plants all toward net zero energy consumption by 2020. Meanwhile, the Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh is one of the greenest buildings in the world, expected to meet the Living Building Challenge, U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Platinum certification and Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) certification for landscapes.

What are your thoughts on the future of construction? Is net zero all that we will be hearing about in the coming years?


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