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Clean Building Not that Pricey, But What About Habits

Posted by: Heather Green on August 28, 2007

I missed this report last week, but a survey by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development found that there is a big gap in builders’ understanding of how pricey it is to build green. On average, the 1,400 participants estimated that building green would cost 17% more, though the group estimates that it averages around 5% in developed countries. (On page 26 of the report there are figures looking specifically at different LEED ratings for the U.S. and how that price increase varies by area and rating)

ust as interesting, the respondants underestimated how much buildings contribute to greenhouse gases, pegging the contribution at 19%, when it's actually 40%.

Clearly, this group has an agenda, though the survey was backed by companies including United Technologies and DuPont.

But maybe the more interesting point is the one made by a commenter at the Clean Break blog. The perceptions about costs might not be the only hindering issue. It could also be that retraining builders, especially in a market that's going south in many areas, is a hard sell. Often, it seems with efficiency, it's old habits that are just as hard to change as expense calculations.

Reader Comments


September 7, 2007 3:19 PM

my architecture firm participated in a survey recently where we were asked for the "green premium" for a retail design we did for a well-known environmentally-progressive retailer. it was virtually impossible to come up with an answer.

the assumption that there even is a "green premium" could be as problematic as assuming there is a "window premium" that allows us to compare the cost of buildings with windows and without. obviously a building would be cheaper if we designed it without windows. but we make our choices with the client and we design windows in because it makes for a good building. that's not a "premium."

in the case of the design for the environmentally-progressive retailer there was no non-green option to compare it to. there were simply good design choices made.

E Bauer

September 15, 2007 11:59 PM

It is no more costly to build green than to build regular stick homes. Check out homes. The cost is the same per square foot. This is for a sustanible green home, fire proof home, huricane and tornado proof home. The banks do not want to lend money for them because they are different and there are few comparibles to compare with. Learn more about monolithic homes.

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BusinessWeek correspondents John Carey and Mark Scott, cover the green scene, keeping on top of the business aspects of energy, the environment and climate change, as well as the technologies, policies, markets and people that are shaping how the earth's resources will be used in the century ahead.

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