Eco-friendly is the future of both new and refurbished construction.

In a 2016 SmartMarket survey of 1,000 construction firms, spanning 69 nations – more than 60% of their projects are expected to be certified green by 2018. The push for more environmentally conscious buildings has a double backing: politics and finance.

In 2016, the United Nations launched the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The initiative is designed to, in part, “…protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change…”

While reacting to climate change has become controversial, saving money rarely collides with such confusions. The Investor Ready Energy Efficiency Certification (IREE) was established to help clarify these muddy waters. The main function of the IREE is to help businesses understand the financial benefits of energy efficient renovations, buildings, and practices.

As you might imagine, trends are beginning to emerge.

5 eco-friendly construction trends

To be sure, the shift towards more environmentally sustainable building is a worldwide movement, barreling with momentum. Not only are green designs trendy, but they’re also impressive.

  1. Zero-net-energy buildings. A building that produces equal to, or greater than, the amount of energy it consumes is considered “zero-net-energy.” This modern money – and Earth – savers are becoming more and more popular. They’re also a spectacle – zero-net-energy buildings tend to attract media attention and are a boasting point for developers.
  2. Eco-friendly concrete. While not as generally exciting as self-sufficient buildings, concrete alternatives made from ash, hemp, and iron carbonate bases, are bursting onto the construction scene. However, self-healing concrete – a mixture supplemented with limestone-producing bacteria – packs an impressive wow-factor. The bacteria are water activated, so when cracks expose the cultures to moisture, they automatically generate a limestone fill.
  3. The solar revolution. Thanks in part to a growing number of state renewable portfolio standards (RPS), expect to see more and more solar panels on new, and old buildings. Furthermore, low interest rates in the United States have made financing high-cost solar renovations more accessible. Combine that with the ability to sell back excess electricity to the grid, and it’s easy to understand why solar has become an attractive option.
  4. Utility0scale home batteries. The lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars are likely to start showing up at an increased rate in homes and businesses as solar electricity continues to change the way we generate power. Solar panels are really nothing more than battery chargers. During daylight hours, an optimized solar electric system will generate enough power for a building to operate, and more. The goal is to keep the batteries stocked with enough electricity to maintain night-time operations on stored electricity, thus, the rise of the utility-scale home-battery.
  5. Water conservation. Rain and grey water recovery systems, water-conserving fixtures, native landscaping in place of lawns, and energy efficient cooling towers are examples of water conservation innovations you can expect to see more of in the coming years.

How does all this affect you at tax time?

It’s no secret that governments, both state and local, have incentives for companies to build and remodel green. It’s never a bad idea to approach such projects with an eye on how to offset cost via tax incentives.

The tax experts at No Boundaries Advisors have a keen understanding of the construction industry. If you’re considering building green, our friendly accountants can help make sure you keep costs to a minimum.

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