New Data on the Cost of LEED, Credit-by-Credit
April 16, 2010
We've just released a neat new report on what it costs to achieve specific LEED credits. Based on the current LEED-NC 2009 rating system, "The Cost of LEED" draws on the experience of veteran cost estimators to provide prices for specific measures a project team would consider. The report helps a team understand the implications of LEED on the cost of its own particular project, with lists of "standard" approaches compared to "high performance" options, along with cost premiums for those options.
Over the years we've reported in Environmental Building News and on BuildingGreen.com about various attempts to measure what it costs to get a building LEED certified. Notable among these were:
- The seminal 2003 report by Greg Kats and his team, based on a set of California projects (updated in 2007 with a set of Massachusetts schools, and in 2010 for the book Greening Our Built World);
- The 2004 report "Costing Green" from Davis Langdon, updated in 2007 as "The Cost of Green Revisited" with guidelines and tips on individual credits based on LEED-NC 2.2; and
- A detailed 2004 study by John Amatruda for the U.S. General Services Administration analyzing the cost required to take two prototypical GSA buildings to a LEED-Silver level.
Our new report adds to this pantheon. I hope you'll find it worthy of its predecessors, while adding a new level of utility. Here are a few bits from our press release on the report:
While previously published studies have taken an aggregated approach, trying to predict overall cost impact of LEED from looking at previous projects, this report draws from the resources and experience of veteran cost estimators to present the cost of specific measures a team is likely to consider.
"The goal of this report was to get a handle on the ways in which LEED credits can be achieved, and to understand the cost implications of those actions within a building project" says Stephen Oppenheimer, AIA, of Tsoi/Kobus & Associates, coauthor of the report. "We were not interested in generalizations of what a LEED Silver project might cost. We wanted much more detail than that."
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"The Cost of LEED" doesn't provide hard numbers for every credit--there are some that are just too project-specific for that to be useful. What's the cost of locating a project near mass transit, for example? But it does offer real numbers for measures that a cost estimator can work with, be they low-flow fixtures, CO2 sensors, or moving contaminated soil from a brownfield. This information should help teams get a handle on the ways in which LEED credits can be achieved, and to understand the cost implications of those actions within a building project.
This new report looks exclusively at construction costs--any additional design work, credit documentation, and special analyses are left to the designers to work out based on their own fees and expectations. Compiled by a team of seasoned practitioners who have collaborated on LEED-certified buildings, this report benefits from real-world experience in identifying the construction cost areas that matter.
In addition to BuildingGreen, the authors come from of Tsoi/Kobus & Associates, AHA Engineers, and Vermeulens Cost Estimators. A hard copy of the report is available from BuildingGreen.com for $49. Or, you can buy a PDF for the same price on LEEDuser.com.