In 2008 the U.S. market for "green" building materials generated sales of almost $57 billion, according to a study from the Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm. This market is projected to expand 7.2% annually to over $80 billion in 2013, outpacing the growth of building construction expenditures over that period.
Although green building materials are expected to account for an increasing
share of materials used, growth will be driven primarily by the recovery of the residential market through 2013 as it rises from its depressed 2008 level, notes Freedonia.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified lumber and wood panels are expected to be the fastest growing green products, albeit from small bases. FSC-certified products are produced via environmentally responsible and socially beneficial forestry practices. As the supply of FSC-certified wood grows, demand for FSC-certified wood panels is projected to more than triple between 2008 and 2013, growing more than three times as fast as the overall market for wood panels.
Other products expected to see fast growth through 2013 include water-efficient plumbing fixtures and fittings, and energy-efficient lighting fixtures. Demand for each of these products is forecast to grow at a double-digit pace through 2013, but account for only a small share of total green building materials market. Over the forecast period, the greatest absolute gains will come from green floor coverings, the largest source of green building materials demand. Green carpets and flooring include Green Label Plus-certified carpets and products made from rapidly renewable resources (e.g., bamboo and cork flooring).
Concrete made from recycled materials (e.g., fly ash, blast furnace slag) had the second largest share of green building materials demand in 2008, accounting for over 15% of the market total. The use of recycled materials in concrete not only reduces the volume of waste sent to andfills, but often enhances the performance of the concrete. Going forward, demand for concrete made from recycled materials is forecast to grow 8.4% per year to $14.3 billion in 2013, accounting for an increasing share of total concrete used.