Zero-energy building market "to reach $1.3tr" by 2035

Worldwide revenues from buildings that use green technologies to produce as much energy as they use could climb to just under $1.3tr by 2035, analysts say.

Although few zero-energy buildings exist, the concept has “emerged as a gold standard in the construction industry” and will be given a boost by regulations coming into force from 2016, says a report published by Pike Research earlier this week.

The UK leads the way in the field, with all new homes in England required to be built to zero carbon standards by 2016 and new non-domestic buildings following in 2019. Property owners may also be forced to fit energy efficiency measures while buildings are undergoing other renovations, under proposals published on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) will require nearly zero energy construction in public buildings by 2019 and in all new construction by 2021, while Pike says similar regulations are being considered in the US and Japan.

“Following the surge in LEED and other green building certifications worldwide over the last few years, zero energy building has emerged as the holy grail in green building design,” said research analyst Eric Bloom. “Zero energy building design is feasible for many building types in many regions, but concerns about the upfront cost continue to impede it in the market.”

However, the report predicts huge reductions in the cost of technologies required to make zero energy buildings possible, such as energy efficient lighting and HVAC systems, improved insulation and solar panels.

And it expects the cumulative effect of falling costs and improved standards to help “market growth … explode in 2020”.

Currently at $225m, the market for zero energy building technologies will grow to $1.3tr by 2035, with Europe’s commercial and residential construction markets accounting for 90 per cent of that amount, the report says.

“Despite the slow uptake of zero energy building to date, the industry is poised to undergo a significant transformation over the next decade,” the report concludes. “The exact language of these new building codes is still being established, but it is clear they will drive significant investment in zero energy building technologies.”

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