If you’ve shied away from going green because of budget constraints, listen up. Sustainable appliances, materials, and certifications all seem to add up to a mountain of money. But according to the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), professionals overestimate the cost of green building by a whopping 300 percent. Additionally, on average, a new sustainable commercial building requires only a 2 percent higher upfront investment compared to its conventional counterpart.
The most costly green investments include Energy Star-rated appliances and lighting, third-party verification to ensure all building systems meet LEED standards, and the cost to recycle construction waste, says Brit Perkins, principal of Houston-based EDI Architecture. However, small, inexpensive improvements to a project can easily translate into LEED points, such as adding hybrid vehicle parking spaces and offering a smoke-free building.
The green investment is worth it—if the number of LEED-certified projects is any indication. USGBC boasts more than 6,000 LEED-certified U.S. commercial projects.
“When LEED began, [they] had to adapt to the industry. Now, 10 years later, LEED has transformed the market to the point where manufacturers and other key industries in the construction market have had to adapt to LEED,” explains Marie Coleman, communications manager at USGBC. Laura McKenzie