Profitability of America’s corporations will be closely tied to proactive sustainability practices and green building principles, according to findings from the new McGraw-Hill Construction (part of The McGraw-Hill Companies) SmartMarket™ Report: “Greening of Corporate America,” commissioned by Siemens Building Technologies, Inc. and Siemens USA.

The study shows that most U.S. corporate leaders are interested in sustainability, with the majority looking at proactive ways of making it a consistent part of their mission. According to the study’s findings, 18% of responding corporate leaders are in the upper – or market transformational stages – with 15% viewing sustainability as a competitive advantage and 3% actually driving their entire businesses through this value-driven lens. Over the next three years, more companies see themselves as entering this top tier, with nearly a third of the sample aiming to be market leaders in sustainability.

Research analysis demonstrates that the majority of large U.S. corporations are poised to embrace green as a cornerstone of their corporate philosophy. The data indicates a tipping point in corporate America, from those mostly uninvolved, to mostly involved in green, will be reached in early 2009, but perhaps as soon as next year. That translates to 82% of corporate America greening at least 16% of their building stock.

"Today's corporate leaders are already very conscious of using green practices when considering new facilities, and they expect green building to have an increasing impact in the future," said Brad Haeberle, director of marketing, Siemens Building Technologies. "Moreover, they believe that green building is in their company's best interests, not only for the clear economic benefits, but for the market differentiation and competitive advantage," he added.

Rising energy costs were identified as a fundamental driver of green building in corporate America, with an overwhelming 75% of participants listing that trend as a major motivator. Haeberle concurred, “These results show us that the market can only grow for more efficient, clean-energy technologies, particularly as they relate to building design and operation.”

“The numbers are very revealing and point to a highly positive trend,” explained Harvey M. Bernstein, McGraw-Hill Construction vice president of Industry Analytics, Alliances and Strategic Initiatives. “Almost 60% recognize the value in sustainability concepts, even though the truly transformational companies are only at 3%. However, according to the top decision-makers in America’s most important corporations, that is expected to triple, with the 60% growing to 88% in just three years.”

The study found that 63% of CEOs recognize financial benefits of green building and 67% see a specific operating cost benefit from green. Additionally, 57% of respondents think green fosters innovation within their companies. Respondents clearly view both government and internal management as the strongest drivers pushing their organizations toward adoption of green policies and practices. Finally, 60% of CFOs see the market differentiation sustainability activities and green building can provide their companies as a definite benefit, with over half of the other executive respondents agreeing as well.