SHOP!’S ANNUAL SURVEY SHOWS
RETAILERS ARE LAYERING ON
GREEN-BUILDING STRATEGIES By Jo Rossman
Retailers are coating their projects in green hues, with 82% of their projects this year incorporating at least some sustainable strategies, according
to the 2016 Shop! Green Building Survey.
That’s back up to the level seen in 2013,
though retailers are still reporting more
“light green” projects than the deeper
shades of green seen in their projects three
years ago. Still, the rise in certification-seeking projects over the past couple of
years may indicate that commitment levels
are on the rise.
Design firms, too, report an increasing
share of their clients’ projects incorporating sustainable strategies. In many cases,
of course, the design firms themselves push
these strategies—occasionally, without even
giving the client a choice. It’s a choice they
have made in order to lead market change.
Indeed, more design firms are committing
to the 2030 Challenge, a commitment to
achieve carbon neutrality for new-building
and major-renovation projects by the year
2030. While a fifth of design firms responding to our 2015 survey had joined the cause,
this year that number rose to nearly a third
of responding design firms.
Similarly, the percentage of supplier com-
panies indicating they’ve committed to the
newer corresponding 2030 Challenge for
Products more than doubled, from 7% in
the prior year to 15% this year. These man-
ufacturers commit to cutting the embod-
ied carbon-equivalent footprint of their
products in half by 2030. Organized by
the nonprofit group Architecture 2030, the
challenges include incremental goals, and
companies report their status annually.
PRODUCT SPECS DROP
AMID COST PERCEPTION
Running counter to the trend this year are
product specifications. Suppliers are seeing
fewer requests for green products, the Shop!
survey found. With projects more likely to
be “somewhat” green than to be registered
for certification, retailers incorporating just
a few strategies may be focusing on energy
rather than materials.
A perceived cost differential also may be
decreasing specifications for green materials. Initial cost and ROI continue to dominate specification decisions, according to
responding designers and retailers, though
retailers this year rate vendors’ quality just
as highly as ROI in influencing their decisions. A perception of higher initial costs
was cited as one of the top three obstacles
to green building in 11 of the 13 featured
countries in Dodge Data & Analytics’ World
Green Building Trends 2016. While the
report is not limited to retail projects,