CLEVELAND — While the green building market transformation is focused on numerous cases or arguments to build green, according to the recently published Opening the Door to Green Building market study, the most impactful and effective cases being made are that of energy efficiency and its effect on overhead cost.

The final report of the Opening the Door to Green Building market and communications study is the result of a joint undertaken by Sustainable Rhythm, a Cleveland-based market research and consulting firm, and the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the United States Green Building Council.

This analysis, one of the first of its kind, engaged multiple perspectives in the building industry (200 participants including owners, facility managers, real estate organizations, service firms, contractors and product companies) to examine issues of the overall market, the perception of the financial investment, the role of certifications, and finally, how the benefits of green building are being communicated among building design and construction professionals.

Other key findings include:
• The perception of cost implications remains a difficult one for the market to address. While new studies and data are becoming available that illustrate negligible or no premiums to build green, this message is not being communicated effectively. Sixty-two percent of respondents indicated that there is a significant premium to build green with 46 percent of that group believing the premium is above 10 percent.
• An additional impediment to market growth is the landscape of green building certifications and accreditations. Only 21 percent of all respondents indicated an understanding of the current certification and accreditation options in the market place. This is particularly pronounced with participants in the single family housing market, with 42 percent indicated “highly confusing or “rarely understandable.”
• Standards and certifications are impacting the product market though; the study indicates that over 40 percent of respondents believe certifications are relevant to their product purchasing process.
• The buyers within the market also indicated that they require less “greening” of the messages and marketing strategies and more emphasis on actual performance and cost implications — both immediate and long term.

The complete study can be found at, or