WASHINGTON, April 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time in history, more than half of the world's population lives in urban areas, resulting in increased demand on buildings and resources. According to a study by McGraw-Hill Construction, firms are shifting their business toward green building to help conserve natural resources, with 51 percent of respondents planning more than 60 percent of their work to be green by 2015. This trend signals a shift from 'push' to 'pull'—with markets increasingly demanding no less than green buildings, said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, UTC Climate, Controls & Security, at today's U.S. Chamber of Commerce Bricks & Sticks Sustainability Symposium in Washington, D.C. UTC Climate, Controls & Security is a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX). "At United Technologies, energy efficiency is the driver of world-class innovations - from air-conditioning chillers that deliver double-digit improvements in energy efficiency to premier building automation systems that can control a building's major systems from a smartphone," Mandyck said. "Buildings consume 40 percent of energy and present immediate opportunities to make good business decisions that are also good environmental decisions." Organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Business Civic Leadership Center, the Bricks & Sticks Sustainability Symposium is designed to showcase outstanding examples of public-private partnerships that serve as a catalyst for creating sustainable solutions that balance economic and environmental progress. By promoting greater efficiencies for energy and water, green buildings lower operating costs while conserving the earth's precious resources, Mandyck said. This powerful combination of built-in payback with environmental stewardship creates a new value proposition that is accelerating green building in the commercial as well as educational sector, and redefining expectations for building operations, worker productivity and student performance in the future. Part of green building since the beginning, United Technologies helped launch the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Center for Green Schools to extend the green building movement into schools, transforming them into sustainable, healthy and energy efficient places to learn. McGraw-Hill Construction research found that 74 percent of K-12 respondents report higher levels of student productivity and test scores as a result of investments in green building, with 45 percent of all 2012 construction projects in the educational sector consisting of green projects. In addition, K-12 schools that are certified under USGBC's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED ®) for Existing Buildings report energy performance that is 36 percent better than the average U.S. school. While schools are making progress, budget constraints and lack of support still present a challenge for many green building projects in this sector. "With approximately 25 percent of Americans going to school every day as students, teachers and administrators, we must continue to identify ways to reduce energy consumption and improve indoor environmental quality in our educational facilities – all of which research has shown directly benefits health and performance, school operating costs and the natural environment," Mandyck said.