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Green building investment trends: Extreme green and net-zero are in

Green building investment trends: Extreme green and net-zero are in

Lynne Simnick | August 29, 2012

When tracking trends in sustainable design, it’s interesting to see where venture capitalists are investing their money in the environmental sector and how technologies that they are funding might impact sustainability standards. Recent investments in green building are focusing on achieving "extreme green" or "net-zero" status.
“Early VC investors are looking for exits for the first wave of successful green buildings start-ups, and the seeds of the next crop are being sown in on-site generation and sustainable materials,” says Lux Research Analyst Ryan Castilloux. Findings in Lux Research’s new report, “Building a Green 21st Century: Tracking Venture Investments in Green Buildings to Uncover New Opportunities” include:

  • Driven by the European Union’s aggressive energy efficiency targets, as well as similar long-term targets in the US and elsewhere, “integrated design” will attain key importance.
  • On-site generation materials and systems are hot investments, with the sector raking in a combined $983 million. A new framework of incentives for on-site power generation and combined heating and energy is pushing more investment. Companies making micro-generators and those with systems that convert waste heat to electricity bear watching.
  • The concrete production industry accounts for about 4% of all global carbon emissions. Since 2005, venture capitalists have invested $114 million into seven developers working on low-carbon concrete. Lux expects these materials to become the norm in geographies where urban building booms are taking place, such as the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

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