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Busting the Myth That Green Costs More Green
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Buildings are one of the largest consumers of resources and energy in this country, and according to the AIA (American Institute of Architects) are responsible for almost half of all carbon emissions in the United States. Since Americans spend nearly 90 percent of their lives indoors, buildings are clearly important to our way of life. The most common misconception about green building is that these approaches cost more to implement than traditional strategies and techniques of design and construction. Any decision made in the early stages of programming and design will have economic impact on the overall building cost. How many floors will our building have? Will we use marble in the lobby? Can we use fancy fixtures in the bathrooms? But according to a Davis Langdon study, there was “…no significant difference in the construction costs for LEED®-seeking versus non- LEED® buildings…” In addition to this widely referenced report, other independent studies by the State of California and the GSA indicate that cost premiums are minimal. More importantly, first cost is only a small part of the total cost of building ownership. Cost-of-ownership studies agree that first cost only accounts for around 10 percent of all costs a building owner will spend over the life of the building. The other 90 percent comes in the form of operation and maintenance – two areas in which designing for LEED® certification can save enormously. Any additional costs for building green are recouped in one to two years on average, with exponential cost savings thereafter that leave traditional construction far behind.
Qualk, J. D.; McCown, P. (2008). Busting the Myth That Green Costs More Green. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu). Available electronically from