The cost of building green

How much additional will a green project cost?

By Source: RSMeans Engineering Staff April 1, 2009

When “Green Construction” is discussed, the focus inevitably turns to cost, as discussed in an article by RSMeans . How much additional will the green project cost? Some organizations are opposed to any additional first costs while others have some tolerance for additional expenditures.

The most prominent standard for green buildings is the U.S. Green Building Council . The USGBC LEED program has four levels of green certification: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. These levels represent increasing levels of sustainability.

There have been numerous studies aimed at comparing the cost of a LEED certified building to traditional designs. The average additional cost quoted is in the range of 2% to 5%. Based upon commercial building costs of $150/sq ft to $250/sq ft, this is equivalent to a $7.50 to $12.50/sq ft premium for building green. The majority of this cost is due to the increased architectural and engineering design time necessary to integrate sustainable building practices into the projects.

Another additional cost is for commissioning. Commissioning is the process of ensuring that the systems are designed, installed, functionally tested, and capable of being operated and maintained to conform to the design intent. According to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory , commissioning can save as much as 40% of the buildings utility bills for HVAC.

Read the full RSMeans article

Comment below: Do you think green construction costs more?