Demand for green building materials is projected to expand 13.0 per cent annually to US$71.1 billion in 2015, slightly outpacing the growth of building construction expenditures over that period as green materials continue to account for an increasing share of materials used. While the rising use of green materials will support gains, the most important driver for demand will be the expected rebound in the construction market from low 2010 levels, according to Green Building Materials, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
Demand for a number of green building products is expected to post gains in excess of 20 percent annually through 2015, benefiting from greater availability, environmental concern and more stringent regulatory or building code standards, coupled with the rebound in the construction market. Among these products are water-efficient plumbing fixtures and fittings, energy-efficient lighting fixtures, permeable pavement, and concrete that features recycled content. However, with the exception of recycled concrete, the market for most of these materials is fairly small and the additional demand will be relatively modest in value terms.
Through 2015, the largest value gains will be from concrete products featuring recycled content (e.g., fly ash, blast furnace slag), which will increase nearly $11 billion from low 2010 levels. In addition to the recovery in construction, green concrete products are expected to continue to gain market share because the use of recycled materials in concrete not only reduces the volume of waste sent to landfills, but often enhances the performance of the concrete.
Green floor coverings, which include Green Label Plus-certified carpets and products made from rapidly renewable resources (e.g., bamboo and cork flooring), are the largest source of green building materials demand, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the total market in 2010. Demand for green floor coverings is projected to increase 11.7 percent annually through 2015. However, gains will not match the pace of the rest of the green building materials market, primarily because the majority of floor coverings (including essentially all carpeting products) are already green, limiting opportunities for greater market penetration.