PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- An ever-growing population. Rapid urbanization. Staggering building energy usage. Before hundreds of industry leaders, Geraud Darnis, president and CEO of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, the world's largest provider of building technologies, underscored the criticality of green building in addressing each of those realities as he opened Greenbuild's 2013 executive luncheon. UTC Building & Industrial Systems is a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), a leading provider to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide. Reflecting on the growth of the industry and the enormous opportunity still ahead, Darnis offered his perspective on the importance of green building's role in efficiently resolving the world's growing energy needs. "At the intersection of population growth, urbanization and green building scale, we find that cities and towns and neighborhoods have no choice but to change," said Darnis. "We also find markets increasingly demanding green buildings. The opportunities ahead are truly limitless." Last year, green buildings represented 44 percent of commercial construction in the U.S. – that's up from just 2 percent eight years ago. On a global level, research from building professionals shows that green building activity is doubling every three years. Driven by strong population growth, 77 new million people each year, coupled with the fact that each day nearly 180,000 people move to cities, green building not only offers greater value, but studies have also shown it provides greater occupancy rates and lower operating costs. "These are the trends my company thinks about as we manage the forces of nature. We overcome gravity with elevators; we overcome weather with heating and cooling systems; and we overcome fire with detection and suppression technologies. And we strive each day to do that with a lower environmental footprint while extending the boundaries of innovation," Darnis said. "Together we can change the world, building by building."