Costs of Going Green


Quick rant for this fine cold Tuesday. I was just reading about a new report released detailing the costs of going green (link).  My first reaction was wow, what a great idea and I wonder how they figured that out.

I looked at some of the sample pages and the sample I saw was roofing. The standard black roof is the constant or 100% of the cost. Paint the same roof white adds 20% to the cost so that is 120%. Adding a green roof is something like 300% of the cost of a standard roof.

This works out great for the cost side but it gets a little more difficult when you begin to factor in the sales and marketing side. If you choose to go with something not green over something green what effect is that going to have on marketing of the project. In the same way; what if you chose the cheaper less efficient equipment?  The long run cost of the cheaper equipment is actually more expensive. Also if you incorporate some aspect of green building in to the project how much return will you get by the added investment into the property so it is certified as green?

No matter how good your financial models are you can never truly predict how a unique property in a unique sales environment is going to sell out at. That is why it is so important for the person doing the investing to believe in building sustainably. If the owner/developer/money man doesn’t believe that building a sustainable project is the right way to go it doesn’t matter how many studies I show you that say green building rent and sell faster and for more money. You are only going to see the added up front costs.

While I love financial modeling and researching costs of construction as much as the next guy it’s more important to know what you want to build, trust your own instincts and do it your way.

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