After pouring billions of stimulus dollars into “greening” federal facilities, the White House now wants to spur similar upgrades to commercial buildings, which account for 20% of total U.S. energy consumption. President Obama’s newly proposed “Better Buildings Initiative” includes tax, lending and grant provisions to encourage private owners to install energy-efficiency improvements in their existing buildings. Federal agencies can carry out some of the new steps on their own, but others will require convincing a more heavily Republican Congress to approve them. The plan, announced on Feb. 3, aims to make commercial buildings 20% more energy efficient in 10 years.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.