GREEN BUILDING GIANTS: Green building movement hits a new plateau, but the underlying problems remain

Today, the green building movement is all about eliminating toxic substances in building materials and systems and, for manufacturers, issuing environmental and health product declarations. Whether these efforts will lead to healthier products and building environments remains an open question.

August 06, 2015 |
GIANTS 300 REPORT: Green building movement hits a new plateau, but the underlying problems remain

The LEED Gold Tidewater Community College/City of Virginia Beach (Va.) Joint-Use Library. The Building Team: Carrier Johnson + CULTURE (design architect), RRMM Architects (AOR), Anderson Brulé Architects (interior design), Stroud, Pence and Associates (SE), C. Allan Bamforth, Jr. (CE), Pace Collaborative (MEP), In Sites (landscape architect), and Gilbane Building Co. (CMAR). Photo: Jeff Goldberg / ESTO

Green building seems to have settled into a holding pattern. Achieving LEED Silver certification is pretty routine these days. Yet LEED-certified buildings still constitute only 2–3% of the annual U.S. production of commercial and institutional stock.

Certain classes of building owners—colleges and universities, foundations, high-profile corporations, and owners of showcase buildings—still want the plaque on the wall. But many commercial building owners are telling their Building Teams to make the project as green as possible within the budget, but forget about LEED.

TOP GREEN BUILDING ARCHITECTURE FIRMS

2014 Green Building Revenue ($)
1. Gensler $551,570,000
2. Stantec $262,592,351
3. HOK $202,805,000
4. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill $202,149,634
5. HKS $144,102,254

SEE FULL LIST BELOW

 

TOP GREEN BUILDING ENGINEERING FIRMS

2014 Green Building Revenue ($)
1. AECOM $299,310,000
2. Arup $159,256,059
3. Jacobs $156,916,555
4. WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff $100,000,000
5. Thornton Tomasetti $76,950,400

SEE FULL LIST BELOW

 

TOP GREEN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION FIRMS

2014 Green Building Revenue ($)
1. Turner Construction $5,417,890,000
2. Clark Group $2,637,700,000
3. PCL Construction $2,073,100,000
4. Gilbane Building Co. $1,900,209,489
5. Whiting-Turner $1,859,469,849

SEE FULL LIST BELOW

 

 

GREEN BUILDING GIANTS SPONSORED BY:

 

 

That the concept of “green building” has been drilled into the heads of building owners is a tribute to the aggressive marketing of the U.S. Green Building Council. The USGBC, its local chapters, and its more than two hundred thousand LEED Accredited Professionals have been beating the building sustainability drum for two decades. Property owners ignore the USGBC’s mantra of “market transformation” at their own risk.

Now, the green building movement has reached a new phase. Today, the green building movement is all about eliminating toxic substances in building materials and systems and, for manufacturers, issuing environmental and health product declarations—so-called EPDs and HPDs. Whether these efforts will lead to healthier products and building environments remains an open question.

There’s also growing interest in documenting the health and productivity benefits of sustainably designed buildings. We know instinctively that “natural phenomena” like fresh air and sunshine are good for us, but producing scientifically verifiable data to prove their efficacy (not to mention cause and effect) in buildings is much more problematic.

The case for health and productivity in green buildings has to be made inferentially, through epidemiological data, as Adele Houghton, RA, and others are valiantly trying to do (see “Debunking the 5 myths of health data and sustainable design,” www.BDCnetwork.com/5Myths).

Just how far we can push building owners on sustainability is being tested by the International Living Future Institute. Judging by the tiny number of projects taking up the ILFI’s Living Building Challenge, only owners with deep pockets and tons of patience seem willing to put up with the program’s rigorous demands.

Then there’s “net-zero,” the proposition that buildings can produce more energy than they use—a topic BD+C explored in a 2011 white paper (http://bit.ly/1JUtwA2). The trick with NZs is to chop the building’s energy use by 65–70% of normal, primarily by making the envelope as tightly insulated as possible; only then should you plop the PVs and other renewables on to get to zero energy use.

Net-zero buildings are starting to pop up, although hardly in huge numbers. Last month, the California Energy Commission approved new standards to the state’s Title 24 energy code that will require single-family homes and low-rise multifamily buildings, starting in 2017, to trim energy use by 28% versus the 2013 standard, on the way to net-zero by 2020.

Getting to 100% NZ may be unrealistic for speculative commercial buildings, due to the cost of the renewables. (Achieving the 65–70% energy reduction, minus the PVs, still makes sense and should be the new target for AEC teams.) Some public utilities are resisting NZs: they don’t want to dial the power meter back to buy electricity generated by an NZ building.

The nation’s water supply is the latest resource to be threatened. California’s mandatory 25% cut in water use is a harbinger of things to come. The great bulk of water in the U.S. goes toward generating electricity and irrigating crops, but buildings account for 20–25% of freshwater use. As we noted in our 2009 white paper (http://bit.ly/1SoI649), conserving and reusing water will be an issue of national concern in the next decade.

All of the above falls under the rubric of climate change, the subject of yet another (my goodness!) BD+C white paper (http://bit.ly/1fhKY4F). No less a figure than Pope Francis has taken on climate change.

Last month, the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide issued an encyclical, “Laudito Si’,” or “Praised Be” (from a prayer by his moving spirit, St. Francis of Assisi), in which he linked “the greater part of global warming” to human activity. The document challenged the idea of humans having dominion over nature (Genesis 1:28) and called instead for mankind to “cultivate and care for” the garden of the world.

Francis criticized the rich (and rich nations) for exhibiting “consumerist, material behavior” and spoke ardently about the impact of global warming on the poor, saying it “strike[s] in a special way the weakest on the planet.”

The encyclical is sure to be a lively topic of discussion at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year.

 

TOP GREEN BUILDING ARCHITECTURE FIRMS




  Company 2014 Green Building Revenue ($)
1 Gensler $551,570,000
2 Stantec $262,592,351
3 HOK $202,805,000
4 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill $202,149,634
5 HKS $144,102,254
6 Perkins+Will $141,700,000
7 EYP $123,018,162
8 SmithGroupJJR $107,641,818
9 NBBJ $85,400,000
10 Callison RTKL $82,631,703
11 Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture $74,000,000
12 Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates $67,965,453
13 HGA Architects and Engineers $57,000,000
14 Perkins Eastman $54,870,000
15 Page $52,630,000
16 DLR Group $52,000,000
17 NORR $44,278,868
18 LPA $43,528,857
19 Fentress Architects $41,750,000
20 CannonDesign $38,000,000
21 Ennead Architects $34,796,000
22 EwingCole $34,440,000
23 ZGF Architects $33,493,286
24 HDR $32,880,000
25 Kirksey Architecture $28,599,985
26 Westlake Reed Leskosky $27,710,000
27 Ballinger $27,080,000
28 Payette $26,638,080
29 FXFOWLE Architects $22,256,391
30 Clark Nexsen $21,630,000
31 Moody Nolan $20,715,180
32 Wilson Architects $20,600,000
33 S/L/A/M Collaborative, The $20,439,860
34 CO Architects $19,480,100
35 HNTB $18,604,100
36 Flad Architects $17,660,000
37 SRG Partnership $16,766,690
38 Integrus Architecture $16,690,126
39 RS&H $16,415,000
40 Corgan $15,390,000
41 Morris Architects $13,430,000
42 NAC|Architecture $13,229,101
43 WDG Architecture $13,215,519
44 Harley Ellis Devereaux $13,090,000
45 Mithun $12,804,000
46 Symmes Maini & McKee Associates $12,700,387
47 LMN Architects $12,330,000
48 Legat Architects $12,293,000
49 Good Fulton & Farrell $12,259,531
50 Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio $11,947,249
51 Goettsch Partners $11,505,000
52 Moseley Architects $11,393,012
53 Francis Cauffman $10,949,531
54 Cooper Carry $10,827,210
55 Beyer Blinder Belle $10,453,704
56 Architects Hawaii Ltd. $9,520,000
57 Dattner Architects $9,305,995
58 BWBR $8,784,742
59 GWWO $8,725,190
60 Albert Kahn Associates $8,200,000
61 Cambridge Seven Associates $8,030,000
62 Little $7,790,593
63 Carrier Johnson + Culture $7,580,000
64 Gresham, Smith and Partners $7,513,000
65 BRPH $7,152,357
66 Cooper Robertson $6,769,000
67 Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart
& Associates, Inc.
$6,263,792
68 Margulies Perruzzi Architects $6,230,000
69 HMC Architects $6,192,991
70 LS3P $6,188,109
71 Davis Brody Bond $5,614,182
72 GBBN Architects $5,500,000
73 Fanning/Howey Associates $5,442,418
74 Array Architects $5,380,120
75 Shepley Bulfinch $4,980,000
76 VOA Associates $4,406,969
77 GreenbergFarrow $4,390,000
78 PBDW Architects $4,272,003
79 DesignGroup $4,111,920
80 Hastings+Chivetta Architects $3,869,389
81 Bergmann Associates $3,714,104
82 Sheehan Partners $3,600,000
83 Wight & Company $3,565,861
84 Emersion Design $2,800,000
85 KSQ Architects $2,611,118
86 Cuningham Group Architecture $2,556,420
87 Lord Aeck Sargent $2,476,857
88 Ashley McGraw Architects $2,435,000
89 LK Architecture $2,250,000
90 Glumac $2,027,219
91 Harvard Jolly $1,968,458
92 PBK $1,890,000
93 Schrader Group Architecture $1,855,670
94 MG2 $1,832,176
95 Environetics $1,748,169
96 Zyscovich Architects $1,747,869
97 SB Architects $1,744,834
98 FitzGerald Associates Architects $1,658,373
99 FKP Architects $1,500,000
100 Eppstein Uhen Architects $1,339,509
101 Sherlock, Smith & Adams $1,339,000
102 RNL Design $1,337,083
103 RBB Architects $1,330,000
104 BBS Architects and Engineers $1,300,000
105 Baskervill $1,285,739
106 Rosser International $1,212,366
107 ai Design Group $1,188,425
108 Ziegler Cooper $1,186,240
109 Montroy Andersen DeMarco $1,100,000
110 Ware Malcomb $1,063,550
111 OZ Architecture $1,050,000
112 Nadel $1,000,000
113 KZF Design $989,021
114 Solomon Cordwell Buenz $762,670
115 Massa Multimedia Architecture $723,450
116 ATA Beilharz Architects $626,361
117 Schenkel & Shultz $581,000
118 BSA LifeStructures $574,281
119 DLA Architects $540,000
120 Luckett & Farley $518,525
121 Heery International $375,194
122 Nelson $360,000
123 WD Partners $250,000
124 Vocon $185,600
125 STG Design $138,000
126 SEI Design Group $128,000
127 TEG Architects $127,971
128 Mancini•Duffy $124,000
129 Inventure Design Group $120,000
130  Jencen Architecture $104,000

 

 

TOP GREEN BUILDING ENGINEERING FIRMS




  Company 2014 Green Building Revenue ($)
1 AECOM $299,310,000
2 Arup $159,256,059
3 Jacobs $156,916,555
4 WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff $100,000,000
5 Thornton Tomasetti $76,950,400
6 KPFF Consulting Engineers $41,000,000
7 Syska Hennessy Group $37,823,379
8 Burns & McDonnell $29,488,874
9 Vanderweil Engineers $23,139,900
10 BR+A Consulting Engineers $20,000,000
11 Dewberry $18,118,196
12 Jensen Hughes $16,710,000
13 Environmental Systems Design $15,720,000
14 Affiliated Engineers $15,140,000
15 Leidos $14,652,000
16 DeSimone Consulting Engineers $13,498,472
17 TLC Engineering for Architecture $13,362,608
18 Hankins & Anderson $11,418,635
19 KJWW Engineering Consultants $8,963,871
20 RMF Engineering $7,900,000
21 STV $7,780,000
22 Heapy Engineering $7,343,298
23 I. C. Thomasson Associates $7,000,000
24 Smith Seckman Reid $6,704,367
25 Henderson Engineers $5,030,593
26 Walter P Moore $5,002,742
27 Hixson Architecture, Engineering, Interiors $5,000,000
28 M/E Engineering $4,757,876
29 Magnusson Klemencic Associates $4,591,790
30 Ross & Baruzzini $4,500,000
31 Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon $4,427,000
32 Spectrum Engineers $4,238,285
33 KCI Technologies $4,100,000
34 P2S Engineering $4,080,000
35 Rist-Frost-Shumway Engineering $3,900,000
36 Bridgers & Paxton Consulting Engineers $3,819,638
37 OLA Consulting Engineers $2,645,200
38 TTG $2,150,138
39 LaBella Associates $1,974,346
40 Coffman Engineers $1,320,000
41 SIGMA7 Design Group $1,308,789
42 GHT Ltd. $1,200,000
43 Core States Group $923,849
44 TBC $773,334
45 H.F. Lenz Company $646,521
46 Wick Fisher White $602,000
47 CJL Engineering $555,600
48 William Tao & Associates $546,936
49 Cardno Haynes Whaley $532,998
50 Davis, Bowen & Friedel $463,856
51 Newcomb & Boyd $452,499
52 KLH Engineers $400,000
53 G&W Engineering $380,000
54 Swanson Rink $326,000
55 GRW $324,478
56 Degenkolb Engineers $253,000
57 Dunham Associates $200,000
58 Primera Engineers $196,502
59 Peter Basso Associates $166,924
60 Highland Associates $150,000
61  Kamm Consulting $112,850

 

 

TOP GREEN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION FIRMS




  Company 2014 Green Building Revenue ($)
1 Turner Construction $5,417,890,000
2 Clark Group $2,637,700,000
3 PCL Construction $2,073,100,000
4 Gilbane Building Co. $1,900,209,489
5 Whiting-Turner Contracting, The $1,859,469,849
6 Skanska USA $1,834,690,000
7 Balfour Beatty US $1,577,739,459
8 Structure Tone $1,575,056,000
9 DPR Construction $1,388,791,729
10 Walsh Group, The $1,232,601,253
11 Lend Lease $1,163,570,000
12 Mortenson Construction $929,420,000
13 Hensel Phelps $845,530,000
14 Brasfield & Gorrie $837,177,438
15 Clayco $832,200,000
16 Holder Construction $787,000,000
17 Suffolk Construction $763,470,000
18 Austin Industries $728,961,236
19 Power Construction $667,000,000
20 McCarthy Holdings $628,004,703
21 B.L. Harbert International $610,675,947
22 Level 10 Construction $593,628,098
23 JE Dunn Construction $575,049,405
24 JLL $566,830,628
25 Messer Construction $415,443,911
26 Sundt Construction $397,496,910
27 Manhattan Construction $368,669,000
28 James G Davis Construction $366,306,975
29 Shawmut Design and Construction $350,000,000
30 HITT Contracting $329,000,000
31 Adolfson & Peterson Construction $289,145,568
32 James McHugh Construction $271,125,151
33 C.W. Driver $255,790,000
34 LPCiminelli $243,852,939
35 Bernards $218,000,000
36 Yates Companies, The $211,300,000
37 Hoffman Construction $204,074,149
38 Haskell $201,324,612
39 W. M. Jordan $180,694,693
40 Kraus-Anderson Construction $179,300,000
41 Flintco $173,300,000
42 Clune Construction $162,008,781
43 O'Neil Industries $142,136,811
44 Barton Malow $139,776,372
45 Donohoe Construction $138,965,000
46 Harkins Builders $135,000,000
47 McGough $127,000,000
48 Beck Group, The $122,681,120
49 Pepper Construction Group $113,882,000
50 CORE Construction $110,998,214
51 Weis Builders $103,148,687
52 LeChase Construction Services $102,000,000
53 Coakley & Williams Construction $96,770,000
54 Choate Construction $94,034,740
55 Fortis Construction $91,700,000
56 Hill & Wilkinson $79,047,848
57 Paric $79,000,000
58 Gray Construction $61,059,190
59 Andersen Construction $55,000,000
60 Linbeck Group $54,000,000
61 Hoar Construction $51,543,000
62 Boldt Company, The $48,868,481
63 Rodgers Builders $45,519,382
64 KBE Building Corp. $44,469,691
65 Haselden Construction $40,432,619
66 S. M. Wilson & Co. $39,578,049
67 Robins & Morton $35,944,634
68 Alberici Constructors $33,150,177
69 Hill International $29,000,000
70 Leopardo Companies $28,926,710
71 Schimenti Construction $27,000,000
72 Walbridge $23,000,000
73 Stalco Construction $19,000,000
74 Weitz Company, The $15,579,000
75  Batson-Cook $15,449,094

 

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