In what was only a short blip-on-the-timescale ago, the Industrial Revolution changed everything about the built environment and resulted in a global tidal wave of heightened building activity. Only a short time later and we are now seeing another revolution in the built environment, albeit a more important one for the times we are living in. The green building revolution now has the means and power to remedy the negative environmental impacts that came with the onslaught of Industrial Revolution building activity.
The trends are backing it up, as well. This is a revolution happening exponentially faster than its predecessor. That’s not to say that the Industrial Revolution was particularly bad or carried pervasive malintent. However, it is to say that the green building revolution is one more aligned with the stream of environmental consciousness that is fast becoming ubiquitous all over the world and will indeed become the determining marker of the 21st century. Like this report says, sustainable development is: “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Can we curb our impact on the environment in a way that Industrial Revolution didn’t even consider? Yes, we can!
The sustainable development movement is headed right in that direction.
Trends happening in the green building revolution in Asia
To understand the exponential growth rate of green building, this report indicates that the global industry is expected to keep doubling every three years. That’s roughly a 33% growth rate per annum, the majority of which is expected to be driven in the developing market of which many Asian countries fall under.
Six Asian cities recently made it into the Top 10 Global Cities for Green Buildings. That’s particularly impressive considering that it’s often Asian cities that are construed as being the most polluted in the world – it shows a majorly progressive shift toward environmentally friendly building practices in the region.
There are many different drivers and influential factors that create the need for a green building market. These drivers are country and region specific, encapsulating both developed and developing countries in Asia into the fold of green building activity on different sides of the spectrum.
Singapore currently ranks as the best performer in Asia in a number of different categories. It has an overall 70.32% percent performance rating for its sustainable development efforts, just behind Paris as the world leader. It also has the highest percentage of fully-functioning and certified green buildings in Asia, with 48% of its buildings being green. That’s almost half the city. The next highest is Shanghai with 15%. However, Shanghai has the highest number of internationally certified building projects, with 223 LEED certified buildings.
Government policy is likely the biggest driver of sustainable building practices leading to the excellent performance in Singapore. However, it is interesting to note here that while Singapore, Shanghai and Beijing ranked as having the top three most supportive governments for sustainable building practices, they were also the only three cities in the Top 10 that achieved 100% of their green building targets in line with their respective codes. This shows that governments in Asia are employing effective and progressive policy making to drive green building in the region. This is a massive drawcard for investors as governments are likely then to seek reliable contractors in the green building industry.
In line with this, Hong Kong ranked as having one of the highest financial incentives for green building investment with its BEEFS scheme (one of the largest government-funded energy schemes in the world) pumping US$450m into private sector investment in the industry.
Where Singapore has been surpassed, it is again interesting to note that Beijing and Shanghai share the podium for the highest percentage of renewable energy consumed, at 10% of total energy consumption. Hong Kong takes the cake for lowest city-wide carbon emissions in Asia, showing clear effort to create a green culture and environment – another ranking where it comes in only very slightly (0.2%) behind Singapore.
In China, market demand still ranks as the key driving force in sustainable development, meaning that there is a growing push from cities and communities in the country to develop a healthier lifestyle and business environments. This is encouraging given that the socio-economic benefits of sustainable development will help China’s efforts in becoming a developed economy.
In the rest of Asia, client demand ranks as the primary driving force, meaning that government policy is effectively influencing investors to push for sustainable development and green building design.
Given the predicted future investment and growth in the industry and the socio-economic benefits of building green, it’s time that you considered joining the revolution.