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USGBC_The Sustainable Enteprise Vol2

USGBC_The Sustainable Enteprise Vol2

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Published by: ky0t0 on Feb 27, 2009
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05/10/2014

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www.awarenessintoaction.com
 Your Bottom Line
 You can afford to build green: The true cost is much lower than you think
Doug Gatlin / U.S. Green Building Council
white paper
E
vidence that green buildings do not have tocost a penny more than their conventionalcounterparts continue to pile up, as do the studiesthat validate signiicant ongoing operational costsavings or both new and existing green buildings.And these studies are extending beyond time andmaterial into such actors as building valuation, andhealth and productivity o building occupants.The most commonly cited reason or building own-ers and operators not going green is the perceivedhigher irst costs. A 2007 study by Davis Langdonnotes, “It is clear rom the substantial weight o evidence in the marketplace that reasonable levelso sustainable design can be incorporated into mostbuilding types at little or no additional cost. In addi-tion, sustainable materials and systems are becom-ing more aordable, sustainable design elementsare becoming widely accepted in the mainstream o project design, and building owners and tenants arebeginning to demand and value those eatures.”In act, key players in real estate and constructionregularly misjudge the costs and beneits o greenbuildings, a new study by the World Business Councilor Sustainable Development (WBCSD) reports.Respondents to a 1,400-person global surveyestimated the additional cost o building green at17 percent above conventional construction, muchhigher than the true cost dierence o about 1 to2 percent. At the same time, survey respondentsestimated buildings’ greenhouse gas emissions at19 percent o world total – hal the actual numbero 40 percent.While experienced users o the Green Building Council(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)LEED Green Building Certiication System are indingit possible to build at Silver and Gold LEED levelsor the same cost as conventional buildings, moststudies are inding that certiication adds only 1 or2 percent o the overall budget to the constructioncost. LEED registration and certiication ees arenegligible, averaging around $3,000 to $5,000 perproject, depending on size and whether it is a new orexisting building. (New construction requires moreinormation to be reviewed by USGBC, so the ee isslightly higher than or existing buildings.) Registra-tion is essential or projects pursuing LEED certiica-tion and provides access to a variety o resources,including LEED Online, a project management toolthat teams use to prepare documentation.Investments in building commissioning, energy model-ing and additional proessional services pay dividendsas risk mitigation strategy or owners. In act, buildingcommissioning (a quality control process ensuring thatall HVAC, plumbing, electrical and security systems are
Franchise Tax Board Headquarters Photo by John Swain, courtesy of HOK 
 
www.awarenessintoaction.com
operating as intended) provides one o the most cost-eective ways to ensure lower energy use and costonce the building is operational.According to Texas A&M University, the commis-sioning process typically reduces energy costs inexisting buildings by about 20 percent, comparedto buildings that do not go through routine com-missioning. While these might add to the projectbudget, they end up saving money in the long runand are also best practices or building design,construction and operations.When Adobe Systems Inc. earned platinum LEEDcertiication or its existing headquarters complex inSan Jose, Caliornia, which company leaders thoughtwas already high perorming, they were surprisedto learn that some o the building systems were notrunning as eiciently as they could. By pursuing LEEDcertiication, they uncovered energy waste, subse-quently saving over a million dollars annually. In act,modiications to the programming o a garage analone reduced energy consumption enough to save$98,818 yearly without sacriicing air quality!
Savings From Ongoing Operations
Once the project is operational, buildings recoupadded costs within the irst one to two years, a blipcompared with the typical liespan o a building, whichcan oten exceed 100 years. LEED-certiied buildingsuse signiicantly less energy and water than a conven-tional building. Managers o LEED-certiied buildingsregularly report energy and water savings between 30and 50 percent over their noncertiied counterparts,yielding large savings in operational costs.But beyond the obvious implications o reduced util-ity costs, the business case or green buildings asinancially sound investments is strengthened whenyou consider LEED-certiied buildings’ increasedworth. Several building projects recently submittedto USGBC show an average savings o more than$1.50 per square oot in operational expenses as aresult o management improvements and equipmentupgrades conducted to earn LEED certiication. Ininvestment properties, this translates into an at-tractive increase in net operating income (NOI) thatdelivers increased proitability year ater year.The role o green building practices and eatures isboosting the value o real estate and has appraisalexperts taking notice. According to Theddi Wright
Managers o LEED-certifedbuildings regularly report energyand water savings between30 and 50 percent over theirnoncertifed counterparts.
Adobe Systems, Inc. Tower San Jose, California 
 
www.awarenessintoaction.com
Chappell, the managing director and nationalpractice leader o National Green Building & Sus-tainability Practice Valuation Services or the CapitalMarkets Group o Cushman & Wakeield o Washing-ton, Inc.: “There is no doubt the market is lookingmore closely at issues such as energy eiciency anda building’s carbon ootprint in making investmentdecisions. Buildings that do not measure up in thesetwo areas alone are losing avor among investorsand in many instances are being considered lessattractive investments long term. Even though datamay not currently exist to prove up a value premiumor sustainable properties, there is a growing belie in the valuation community that i a building is notenergy eicient and high perorming, there is amuch greater likelihood its value will be discountedin the coming years.”Overall, building a new building or upgrading anexisting building to LEED standards oers a remarkablereturn on investment (ROI). Cost-beneit analysis on 10buildings recently awarded LEED certiication showsan average ROI o 29 percent or green investments.How’s that or the bottom line?
The Other Side of the Equation
One o the costliest aspects o a building is the healtho the people inside. A study conducted in 2000 bythe Harvard School o Public Health and the PolaroidCorporation ound that employee absences cost com-panies billions o dollars annually. In a study by Wil-liam Fisk, green buildings were ound to add between$20 billion and $160 billion in increased workerproductivity every year. According to many acilitymanagers overseeing LEED-certiied buildings, thesebuildings yield signiicant productivity and healthbeneits, including heightened employee productivityand satisaction, ewer sick days and less turnover.Case studies urther demonstrate that employeeswho work inside the buildings are more productiveand report greater satisaction with their workplaces,speciically identiying sunlight, views o nature andheightened thermal and acoustic comort.
Other Strategies
The most eective way to reduce higher costs is bygetting an experienced project team in place and prac-ticing the principles o integrated design. Integrateddesign engages users and operators during the designprocess so projects are able to integrate better designand understanding o building eatures and unctions.To stay on track, according to Davis Langdon’s study:
• Begin documentation early and maintain it as you go.• Update and monitor the LEED checklist regularly so you
have a clear picture o your progress.
• Use energy- and cost-modeling tools to drive decisions
at the design phase, not to validate decisions at theconstruction phase.The best response to the question, “How can you aordLEED certifcation?” may well be, “You can’t aord not to!”
Existing Buildings
LEED has been a successul tool not only or greeningnew buildings but or improving the eiciency andhealthiness o existing buildings. The commercial
Oxford - Metro Centre Photo by Shai Gil, courtesy of HOK 

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