By Jacqueline Champagne
A nything better always costs more, and there is no free lunch but, from a commercial banker’s perspective, there are compelling economic reasons to like, maybe even LOVE, building green, the practice of increasing the efficiency of buildings and their use of energy, water and materials.
The U.S. Green Building Council touts the economic benefits to building green as reduced capital needs and operating costs, increased property values and an increase in worker productivity.
And while conventional wisdom perceives that building green will cost an additional 13 to 18 percent, per the data assembled by The Green Building Finance Consortium, the reality is significantly discounted.
The total cost increase averages less than 1 percent of project costs for a basic LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, a nominal project expense for any sizable construction project.
Reduction in Capital and Operating Costs. With proper execution, building green can actually reduce capital costs. Efficient energy, water and waste systems reduce maintenance and operating costs.
And to make even the flintiest banker smile, building green generally decreases project energy consumption from 10 to 40 percent compared with conventional construction. Cash flow improves, and ergo the project value increases.