Building Green Won't Break the Bank
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by Matt Kiszka on 06/13/2009
The cost of building to green standards does not differ significantly from regular practices
For all those with fears surrounding the cost of incorporating sustainability into the design and building process - a 2007 study performed by Davis Langdon into these costs found that "there is no significant difference in average cost for green buildings as compared to non-green buildings."
The study focused upon "construction costs of buildings where LEED was a primary goal to similar buildings where LEED was not considered during design." 221 buildings were analyzed in total, of which 83 were designed with LEED certification as the primary ambition, with the remaining 138 projects being similar in scope but with no green features considered.
Cost of Green Revisited: Reexamining the Feasibility and Cost Impact of Sustainable Design in the Light of Increased Market Adoption built on the work of an earlier paper published by Davis Langdon, titled Costing Green: A Comprehensive Cost Database and Budget Methodology, and found that:
- Many projects are achieving LEED within their budgets, and in the same cost range as non-LEED projects;
- Construction costs have risen dramatically, but projects are still achieving LEED;
- The idea that green is an added feature continues to be a problem.
To quote from the study, "Many project teams are building green buildings with little or no added cost, and with budgets well within the cost range of non-green buildings with similar programs."
These are highly promising findings for the green building industry, and they support previous studies such as the State of California's The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Buildings and the GSA's LEED Cost Study, which made similar discoveries. Awareness that initial costs for LEED aren't inflated beyond baseline designs reduces the need for detailed and projected considerations of what the payback period for LEED buildings might be, and provides strong support for the incorporation of sustainability into the design, construction, and operations of the built environment. ~Matt
Matt Kiszka is the Green Building Project Manager for Renewable Choice.