LEED Projects: Cost versus Benefit

Green Design

Do long term cost benefits outweigh short term construction costs on a LEED project?

LEED is a design / construction process and internationally recognized certification system that looks at resources and energy efficiency in the design and construction of a project. For a project to achieve LEED certification, the designer and contractor must spend additional time and manpower.

For example, design of the HVAC system takes additional time to verify energy performance. The long term savings provided by the higher efficiency units however, will provide energy savings during the life of the building.

An example of additional cost during construction is the tracking of building products point of origins. For a non-LEED project, the tracking of products being installed in the building within a 500 mile radius is never tracked. But for a LEED project, the construction team (with the help of their vendors and subcontractors) needs to provide proof of all materials origin and the cost of said material. This type of tracking takes time and money to perform and will increase the overall construction cost.

So, do the long term cost benefits outweigh the short term cost on a LEED project? Well that is a question each owner will need to make for themselves.

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