Green Design—is it for the cache or the environment?

A building can be designed to meet energy efficiency and sustainability goals, without actually obtaining LEED certification.  However, LEED certification is becoming one of the most recognized ways of demonstrating your commitment to green building.  It does not come, however, without a cost.  In addition to the registration fee to the Green Building Certification Institute, costs depend on the square footage of the building, ranging from $1,750 to $17,500 for GBCI members to $2,250 to $22,500 for non-members.  There are also commissioning fees and the soft costs associated with a green design.

Enter the Town of Cary and the new fire station.  While meeting many green goals, the Town has elected to forego getting it LEED certified because of the estimated $41,000 costs involved in doing so.  Is this the next trend in green building?  If not LEED certified, what is to stop unscrupulous builders from unilaterally declaring their work to be green without actually making it environmentally friendly?  Is the cache of being green worth multiple thousands of dollars in these lean economic times?  Is this a way to avoid risks associated with failing to meet LEED certification?

For more on this issue, check out Matt DeVrie’s article on this same subject, “What are the benefits of Leed Certification?”

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