I recently had a meeting with a couple of developers who were planning on doing a quick renovation to convert an older building into residential condos or apartments. We were discussing the project budget and sustainable certifications were brought up. They immediately dismissed the idea due to cost. I understood that they were taking a very big risk proceeding with a development in the current economic climate. For this reason, I held back from a long-winded tirade lambasting them for not going green. I would have liked to tell them that by not going green they would develop a building with higher utility costs. The higher utility costs and lack of certification will cause their building to likely be obsolete in 5 or 10 years as the number of sustainable buildings increased. But I couldn’t, instead I used the New York City Green Building codes and the city itself as a reason to pursue LEED certification.
These components require new buildings and substantial additions and alterations to follow stricter energy codes. These codes will push developers toward certifying their buildings with a sustainable building certification. In the case of the developers I met with, I told them that the city’s new green building codes are going to force them to build a more efficient building. If they’re going to have to pay for added insulation, sealants and more efficient equipment; why not spend the time and money to certify the building as LEED to help with the marketing.
The second reason I told them they should pursue LEED certification was because the project was in New York City. Almost all projects in the city meet the prerequisite and all credits for Sustainable Sites. They also may qualify for added credits in Innovation and Design. By having all these credits without having to spend a dime, projects in urban areas have a huge advantage over other green buildings.
Without touching on the increased marketability of green projects the case for LEED certification of buildings in New York City is getting easier to make.