Making the Case: Signs Point to Green

Green development is becoming more than a buzzword.

Concerns over volatile energy prices, climate change and real estate market troubles are calling into question traditional approaches to developing neighborhoods and cities. Consequently, green development concepts are pushing onto the mainstream agenda of businesses, governments, builders and financial institutions.

Start with energy. Forecasts suggest prices of gasoline, natural gas and heating oil will continue to climb in the coming years. Green development reduces consumption of energy, water and other natural resources by eliminating inefficiencies. Green buildings, therefore, are better able to weather energy price shocks.

Energy consumption is also directly related to climate change and pollution. Consensus is growing among scientists, policy makers and business leaders that we must stem rising greenhouse gas emissions and forestall climate change. By reducing energy consumption and, in turn, pollution, green buildings can help.

Foundering real estate markets produce yet more financial burdens for homeowners and businesses.

Concerns about energy prices, climate change and the real estate market could reshape real estate development practices. There are signs it's already happening: the number of buildings earning the U.S. Green Building Council rating system's Leadership in Energy and Design, or LEED, certification jumped from 38 in 2002 to 1,705 in 2005.

Be sure to read the full article, featured in the Green issue of Partners, for more information.