Growth Projected for Green Building Materials

May 9, 2011

Green window and door gains will not be as strong, but demand for green building materials is projected to expand 13 percent annually to reach $71.1 billion in 2015, according to a new study from The Freedonia Group. While increased market penetration of green materials will support gains, the most important driver for green product demand will be the expected rebound in construction markets from low 2010 levels, the Cleveland-based market research firm notes.

According to the study, window and door products represented about 20 percent of the green building materials demand last year. For windows, Freedonia counts products meeting Energy Star criteria in its green totals.  In 2010, it estimates 26 million of the 40 million total window unit demand were energy efficient products, with an estimated value of $5.05 billion. For 2015, it sees green window demand rising to 36 million units in a total window market estimated to reach 54 million. 

On the door side, Freedonia includes exterior and interior doors made of recycled content (primarily aluminum and steel door products), as well as doors made of sustainable materials such as Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood.  Overall, demand for green doors will outpace overall door demand through 2015, rising 11.2 percent annually to 17 million units, the study predicts.

In addition to improving construction markets, Freedonia predicts much of that  growth in green doors will come from the rising availability of FSC-certified wood products. FSC rules have historically limited the penetration rate of FSC certified wood products, but an increasing number of forest owners certify their lands to benefit from FSC-certification in paper products, the report notes. Therefore, the supply of FSC-certified wood has become more stable and that has encouraged doormakers to undergo the certification process. 

Despite growth in the wood door segment, steel doors will continue to account for the majority of green door demand, as defined by the study. This means the overall green door market will be restrained by competition from vinyl and fiberglass doors, which are expected to take share from metal doors, Freedonia states. 

U.S. Green Building Materials Demand

(billions of dollars)
    Annual Growth
Total Demand49.538.771.1-4.8%13.0%
Floor Coverings13.09.215.9-6.8%11.7%
Insulation & Other11.49.518.3-3.6%14.0%

Source: The Freedonia Group

Benefiting from greater availability, environmental concern and more stringent regulatory or building code standards, demand for other green building materials will outpace windows and doors, according to the report. Among these products are water-efficient plumbing fixtures and fittings, energy-efficient lighting fixtures, permeable pavement, and concrete that features recycled content. However, with the exception of recycled concrete, the market for most of these materials is fairly small and the additional demand will be relatively modest in value terms, the report states. 

Through 2015, the largest value gains will be from concrete products featuring recycled content (e.g., fly ash, blast furnace slag), which will increase nearly $11 billion from low 2010 levels. In addition to the recovery in construction, green concrete products are expected to continue to gain market share because the use of recycled materials in concrete not only reduces the volume of waste sent to landfills, but often enhances the performance of the concrete.

Green floor coverings, which include Green Label Plus-certified carpets and products made from rapidly renewable resources (e.g., bamboo and cork flooring), are the largest source of green building materials demand, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the total market in 2010. Demand for green floor coverings is projected to increase 11.7 percent annually through 2015. However, gains will not match the pace of the rest of the green building materials market, primarily because the majority of floor coverings (including essentially all carpeting products) are already green, limiting opportunities for greater market penetration.

The 332-page Green Building Materials study is available from Freedonia. More information is available by calling 440/684-9600 or  visiting