Thursday, September 20, 2007

Top Green Contractors

The Mainstreaming of Green Building
Gary J. Tulacz,, September 19, 2007

Until recently, the notion of sustainable design or green building was hazy. There were standards being issued by groups like the U.S. Green Building Council and the Green Building Initiative, and companies were constructing showcase projects. However, in the last couple years, the concept has taken off. Membership in Washington, D.C.-based USGBC, which had just over 500 members in 2001, skyrocketed to 10,000 within five years, making it one of the fastest growing organizations in the country. Over the past decade USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and En­vironmental Design rating system has gone a long way to define what it means to build green. “LEED is coming to be the definition of sustainable design and construction in the U.S.,” says Michael Deane, operations manager for sustainable construction for Turner Construction and a member of USGBC’s board.

For many firms, interest in green building is rising to new and unheard-of levels. “In 2004, less than 1% of our work was sustainable,” says Ted van der Linden, director of sustainable construction for DPR Construction. “In 2005, it was about 5%. By 2006, about 45% of our new work was green construction. And this year, it is tracking at about 50%.” He says not all of this work will be certified under a third-party rating system, but it will contain substantial sustainable elements.

DPR isn’t the only firm experiencing this level of green activity. “We have about $4.5 billion in backlog and nearly $2 billion is in some form of green building,” says Jeff Hoopes, executive vice president of Swinerton. For Clayco, “Cli­ents raise the issue a sustainability in at least 35% of our projects, and we raise it in the rest,” says Paul Todd Merrill, Clayco’s director of sustainable construction. “Only about 15% of clients don’t want it.”

To read the rest of ENR's article on green buiders, visit

To see ENR's list of 2007 Top 50 Green Contractors, visit (note SF-based Swinerton at No. 4!).

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