For the construction industry, the demand for sustainable business practices -- and the pressure to maximize the energy efficiency and sustainability of buildings and other structures -- towers higher than ever.

In recent years, cities, counties and states have altered building codes to promote the use of energy-efficient designs and sustainable materials. Green building and energy-efficiency rating standards, such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program and the federal government’s Energy Star initiative, have further invigorated demand for green construction.

Construction companies also face pressure from new stakeholders, including investors and supply chain partners, to show evidence of sustainability efforts. Mainstream investors are showing increased interest in environmental issues, and the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act (which took effect earlier this year) has increased the number of major consumer-facing companies that require their suppliers, vendors and subcontractors to report their own sustainability practices.