|Re: Cost of Green Building||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Philip Proefrock (architectcornellbox.com)|
|Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 09:30:52 -0700 (PDT)|
> Can any of you suggest good websites that might give ball park figures for > how much various components of green building possibilities would cost? > If that component would save energy or resources, how long it would take > to pay yourself back through energy or resources saved? I went to a LEED Technical Review last week, and this issue was something that was discussed in the program. In a study of a number of LEED certified projects, they found that there was an average cost premium for green construction of only a couple of percent (and there are some cases where green construction actually saved money). Even LEED Platinum was only an average of 5% more expensive than conventional construction. They had a graphic showing building costs for a range of buildings of different types, comparing green (LEED certified or better) and non-green buildings. (These were presented as cost-per-square-foot.) The distribution was the same. Different projects had different costs, but there was not a clustering of green projects at one end or the other. Many green choices are not necessarily apples-to-apples comparisons. A metal roof is going to be more expensive to install than a shingle roof, and a vegetated roof is likely going to be even more expensive. But the shingle roof will need to be torn off and replaced (which creates dumpster loads of construction waste and has real costs for both replacement materials and for the labor to tear off and re-roof) much sooner than either of the others. And there may also be energy cost differences between having a vegetated roof and having a traditional roof. Some of the benefits of your roofing choice will have effects on other parts of the building (both positive and negative). The vegetated roof will likely last the longest, but it may require more structure to support it than a conventional roof. And many times, the tradeoffs are not cut-and-dried cases where one option is clearly preferable. You can improve the indoor air quality and comfort of a building by providing operable windows and individual control for heating and cooling. But you lose some measure of energy efficiency from that. So you need to find the balance between the two that works the best for you (and that balance will not be the same for everyone; there's no magic formula for any of this). There is a lot of synergy in green building. Choices in one area can have benefits in a number of other parts of the building. And some of the benefits are in the operation of the building, rather than in its construction cost. It's tempting to cut corners and try to lower construction costs, but if you focus too much on the installed cost, you can end up hurting yourself in the long run. My point is that this isn't something that is an easy, pick either A or B kind of decision. There are tradeoffs in all of this. Try to take as long term a view as you can (both in the sourcing of the material and the life-cycle costs of owning it). Think about the maintenance that various choices will require, and address those costs (whether they are monetary costs or community labor costs) in your considerations. Best Regards, Philip Proefrock
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