A blog focused on sustainable business issues and challenges

US Green Homes Market Expected to Increase Five-Fold by 2016

March 02, 2012 | No Comments →

Even though US housing starts have dropped dramatically since 2008, green construction is significantly increasing as a share of activity, according to new research from McGraw-Hill Construction, in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Waste Management.

For example, in 2011, green homes comprised 17 percent of the overall residential construction market. The new study revealed that builders now predict this share of activity will grow to between 29 percent and 38 percent by 2016 — equating to a five-fold increase in five years (from $17 billion in 2011 to $87-$114 billion in 2016).

In addition, construction industry professionals reported an even steeper increase in green home remodeling. About one-third of remodelers (34 percent) said they expect to be doing mostly green work by 2016 –that’s a whopping 150 percent increase over 2011 activity levels.

The main driver of the transition to green building appears to be the current economic climate:

  • Many home builders have shifted to the remodeling market due to the drastic drop in new home construction. Well more than half (62 percent) of the builders who do both new and remodeling work verified that the economy has increased their renovation work.
  • 46 percent of builders and remodelers and 71 percent of firms dedicated to green home building said they find “building green” makes it easier to market themselves in a down economy.
  • A 7 percent drop in green construction costs has encouraged more home owners to seriously consider green building.

Three regions in particular are seeing higher than average growth in green building: the West Coast, the Midwest’s northern region and New England. But, the trend nationwide shows no signs of subsiding. In fact, the report projects that by 2016: (more…)

Global Study Shows One in Five Now Telecommute for Work

February 06, 2012 | Comment (1)

In our “always on” digitally-connected society, it’s no surprise that more and more companies are offering telecommuting as a regular option for employees. But how do employees feel about working outside of the traditional office?

In a recent survey conducted by global research company Ipsos, more than 11,000 online connected employees from 24 countries were questioned on the pros and cons of telecommuting and its further potential growth as a global business practice.

The data revealed several interesting trends. For example, Ipsos found that:

  • One in five (17 percent) employees who can be connected online to their workplace now ‘telecommute’ on a ‘frequent basis.’ Seven percent said they work every day from home, while another 10 percent said they do so ‘on a very consistent and constant basis like evenings and weekends.’
  • Telecommuting is most popular in emerging markets. Those working in the Middle East and Africa (27 percent), Latin America (25 percent) and Asia-Pacific (24 percent) are considerably more likely than those in North America (9 percent) and Europe (9 percent) to telecommute ‘on a frequent basis.’
  • Educated (25 percent), under the age of 35 (20 percent) and those with a high household income (20 percent) are more likely to telecommute on a frequent basis.
  • And, men are more likely than women to telecommute.

In addition, (more…)

Seat Fabric in Ford Focus Electric Made From Used Plastic Water Bottles

December 26, 2011 | No Comments →

The new Ford Focus Electric features seat fabric made from REPREVE®, a polyester fiber derived from a hybrid blend of recycled materials, including used plastic water bottles and post-industrial waste.

REPREVE is manufactured by Unifi, Inc, a global leader in sustainable textile solutions, and Ford is the first automakers to use this branded fiber for its seats. According to Ford, the seat fabric on each Focus Electric now includes the equivalent of more than 20 plastic bottles per car.

For years, Ford has been committed to finding a sustainable solution for textiles used in car production.

In 2009, the company mandated that fabric suppliers use a minimum of 25 percent recycled content for all 2009 and beyond model year vehicles. Since then, 37 different fabrics meeting the requirements have been developed and incorporated into Ford vehicles.

Now, Ford is taking it a step further by mandating that fabric be 100 percent sustainable in vehicles with eco-conscious powertrains like Focus Electric.

REPREVE fits the bill. Unifi officials report that all told, 22 plastic, 16-ounce water bottles are used in the seat fabric of a single Focus Electric. (more…)

Verdantix Forecasts Rapid Expansion of Global Sustainable Business Market

June 01, 2011 | No Comments →

Over the next two years, the global sustainable business market will reach a tipping point, triggering rapid market expansion, according to new research from Verdantix.

After analyzing spending patterns of more than 2,500 global firms, Verdantix found that growth rates of investment in sustainable business programs will be between 50 percent and 100 percent higher in 2013 than in 2011. As a result, total spend on sustainable business programs by $1bn revenues firms in Australia, Canada, the UK and the US markets alone will hit $60 billion in 2013.

In addition, Verdantix says the “tipping point” will be fueled by these three specific factors: (more…)

Real Estate Professionals Say Sustainability Is Important to Their Clients

September 02, 2009 | No Comments →

Sustainability remains high on the agenda for property professionals even in this tough economic climate, according to new research released by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

RICS polled more than 380 property professionals worldwide and uncovered some intriguing trends. For instance:

  • More than 40% of all real estate professionals who responded to the survey said that sustainability is a more important issue for their clients now than it was this time last year.  About the same amount felt it was just as important. Less than 10% felt that it was less of an issue for their clients.