Credit: Canada Green Building Council/McGraw Hill Construction
Credit: Canada Green Building Council/McGraw Hill Construction

The U.S. Green Building Council reported in May that the United States holds the biggest share of green building practices in the world per square meters of LEED space. However, the current runner-up—Canada—is apparently picking up steam.

The Canada Green Building Council recently acquired the services of McGraw Hill Construction to help compile a report titled “Canada Green Building Trends: Benefits Driving the New and Retrofit Market.” The report was based on a study that included survey answers from 200 construction industry members—61 consultants and engineers, 57 architects, 41 building owners/developers and 35 contractors.

Fifty-six percent of the respondents reported that more than 30 percent of the projects they build are currently green, and by 2017, 70 percent expect to be doing at least that much. Fifty percent of the respondents, meanwhile, expect that by 2017, more than 60 percent of their projects will be green.

That pace would coincide with what Canada has seen in green building the prior three years, as just 37 percent of firms reported that they were doing more than 30 percent of their projects green in 2011, and now that number is now 56.

So, why the increase?

The top two “triggers” respondents said are causing increasing levels of green building activity in Canada are that it’s “the right thing do” and clients are demanding it. Municipal and federal green building policies, lower operating costs and corporate social responsibility commitment were the next three triggers.

On the basis of firm type, most owners placed greater importance on energy savings and a positive tenant experience, while architects stressed green building’s promotion of greater health and well-being, as well as government requirements, as the main drivers in the country’s green building movement.

According to the report, the increase in green building practices in Canada over the next few years may outpace that of the U.S., potentially pulling Canada even with its neighbor to the south. While the U.S. is seeing incremental growth due to its more mature market, Canada is “in the process of more rigorous growth.”

“While the overall level of green involvement in Canada is slightly below those reported by U.S. firms (in a 2012 McGraw Hill study),” the report reads, “the degree of growth in the involvement in green anticipated in the next three years is much higher now in Canada than the anticipated level of growth over three years reported by the U.S. firms in the 2012 study.

“This suggests that the Canadian market may soon be on par with the U.S. in terms of the share of green building.”

The study, may be found in full here, and be sure to check out a more in-depth summary of the study in September’s issue of USGlassmagazine.