Sustainable construction is especially popular in the residential sector. This Chicago brick home, renovated by Om Development, exceeds Energy Star requirements by 80%.

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Some concrete producers are finding sustainable construction to be a growing market niche. For example, High Concrete Group, Denver, Pa., won a TCP 2008 GreenSite Award in the High-Rise category.

“Architects are looking for sustainable enclosure systems, particularly to reduce embodied and operational energy,” says Gary Graziano, vice president of marketing. “Lightweight cladding such as our CarbonCast product lets them lower their carbon footprint with minimal constraint.”

But other producers have been more cautious about investing precious resources. Many are waiting to see if “green” proves to be more than a buzzword. They want to be sure that customer demand increases before spending money.

A new independent report may help these producers decide.

“Green Building Materials: Making Cement, Insulation and Wood Products Increasingly Environmentally Friendly,” prepared by NextGen Research, forecasts the worldwide sustainable materials market will increase at a compound annual growth rate of almost 5% by 2013. The researchers valued the 2008 market at $455 billion. If their forecast is correct, sustainable construction will reach $571 billion by 2013 and grow faster than the overall market.

Commercial and residential construction are leading the way. “The construction industry has an immense impact on the environment, so green building products are a key market within the global environmental movement,” says Larry Fisher, NextGen's research director.

The report explores the global phenomenon of green building and its influence on product innovation. It cites important government developments that will affect future sustainable construction projects. It also implies the trend may be recession-proof, as the market continues to grow despite a global economic slowdown.

NextGen's 48-page study is geared toward building materials producers. But it also provides useful information for builders, developers, contractors, and others with a stake in sustainable construction.

NextGen's review of building product life cycles also helps producers understand a customer's perspective. The report discusses how sustainable materials impact energy use, water use, materials use, and waste disposal–all important factors in making informed buying decisions.

Visit to buy the “Green Building Materials” report.