‘Green’ Building Attracts Architects, Survey Says

WASHINGTON, DC— Green building has taken a firm hold on the residential construction industry and has captured the attention of both architects and their clients, according to a newly released survey conducted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The 2007 Autodesk/AIA Green Index survey, whose results were released last month by the Washington, DC-based AIA, concluded that 70% of surveyed architects say client demand is the leading driver of green building and that the primary reason these owners and developers are demanding greener buildings is for reduced operating costs (see related story, boxed below).

Architects are responding to the increased demand “by significantly increasing their use of sustainable elements, recycled building materials and software that models energy usage,” according to the results of the annual survey, which measures how AIA-member architects are practicing sustainable design.

According to the Autodesk/AIA “Green Index,” less than half of architects were using sustainable design practices in their projects five years ago. However, this number is rising, with 90% of surveyed architects expecting to add some sustainable elements by 2012.

“This rapidly growing adoption of sustainable design is in direct response to client demand for green building,” reported the AIA, adding that 70% of this year’s respondents cited client demand as the main impetus. When asked to cite a reason behind clients’ interest in green building, 64% of respondents cited reduced operating costs that can be obtained using sustainable design.

Nearly 90% of survey respondents said they have received training or continuing education focused on green building. In addition, the survey indicates a 25% increase in the number of architects utilizing high-efficiency HVAC systems in their projects over the past five years.

Other areas of growth include the use of highly reflective roofing materials and the adoption of energy modeling and baseline analysis.

“There is still [enough] opportunity for architects to deliver on green building practices,” the AIA said.

“Buildings are the leading provider of greenhouse emissions,” observed Christine McEntee, AIA executive v.p. and CEO. “The results of the survey are encouraging, but there needs to be a greater sense of urgency to make sustainable design the norm in the profession.”