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A Green Light to Green Design

For the second year in a row, design firms find opportunity in green projects.

September 2011
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By Michele Russo

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2010 was another difficult year for design firms. According to Engineering-News Record (ENR), the top 500 design firms—the firms in the United States with the most overall reported revenue—declined 0.2 percent from 2009 to 2010, following a dramatic 11 percent decrease from 2008 to 2009. Despite this drop, a light shines brightly in the marketplace—and that is coming from green projects.

Revenues from ENR’s Top 100 Green Design Firms increased for the 4th year in a row. In 2010, firms reported $3.47 billion in revenues from green projects globally, up 12.3 percent over 2009. In the United States, green project revenue increased a dramatic 17.4 percent, valued at $3.3 billion.

In the United States the biggest market opportunity in 2010 came from public projects—with over a fifth of all green design work taking place on government office projects (up from 16.5 percent in 2009) and worth $678 million in activity. Green education projects, also often funded through public dollars, remained strong, comprising 18.7 percent of U.S. green design revenues in 2010. The other two most significant sectors were commercial offices (14.1 percent) and health care (16 percent).

While the government has clearly helped spur green activity, all of the markets saw an increase in green work—for new and existing buildings. The increase in renovation work during this down economy was likely key in driving this growth, as well as the willingness of cost-conscious owners to invest in green to lower utility bills and an increase in policies and codes favoring green design.

Top 25 Green Design Firms
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See page 2 for the Top 100 Green Design Firms»

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This article appeared in the September 2011 print issue of GreenSource Magazine.

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