First Costs

Photo: Dave Dugdale. License: CC BY-SA 2.0.

OVERVIEW

Reduced operational costs, improved occupant health and productivity, and buildings with small ecological footprints: these are the ways we make the case for green buildings.

What about first cost?

Perhaps to the detriment of green building adoption, we’ve been letting flashy products and innovative case studies paint a picture of higher first costs for green buildings. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Constraints fuel creativity, and plenty of projects are leveraging budgets limitations to meet sustainability goals by designing simpler, more effective spaces.

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  • Water Policies: Encouraging Conservation

    Feature Article

    Conserving water goes beyond building design and technology. Water use is governed by federal, state, and local policies, from maximum flow requirements to pricing structures that encourage or discourage conservation.

  • Navigating Incentives and Regulations for Green Building

    Feature Article

    When used in combination, incentives and regulations can be a powerful force for encouraging green buildings. Incentives can be complicated to navigate, but are often well worth the effort. Regulations, on the other hand, can be slow to change, but can raise the baseline for building performance.

  • Investing in the Environment: The Financial Industry's Approach to Green Building

    Feature Article

    Recent changes in the financial industry are providing new opportunities for financing green buildings. However, lenders and investors have different approaches to documenting the benefits of green, which affect how they use rating systems and other metrics. To navigate effectively in the financial world, green designers and builders need to understand the territory.

  • Historic Preservation and Green Building: A Lasting Relationship

    Feature Article

    Rehabilitation of existing buildings is important to sustainability in buildings, but with historic buildings, green building and preservationism can diverge. With attention to preservation standards and suitable application of green strategies, however, those agendas can be aligned.

  • Green Building Remains Strong in Commercial Sector

    News Brief

    A recent survey indicates that, though the value of sustainability is widely recognized in corporate real estate, many cite cost as the primary obstacle.

  • Could Passivhaus High-Rise Become the Norm?

    News Brief

    Report indicates that designing tall urban residential buildings to the Passivhaus standard is achievable and worth the added cost.

  • Our Economy is Broken (and We Can Fix It)

    Op-Ed

    Green building practitioners must take on the challenge of our broken economy, in our work and in our lives.

  • How RECs Work—and Why You Might Not Own Your Clean Energy

    Primer

    Even if you buy into a solar farm or host an array, someone else can claim the benefits. Here’s how to get what you expect.

  • No More Condensation on Chilled Beams

    Product Review

    Semco’s Neuton pump module could simplify installation of chilled beams, eliminate condensation problems, and provide improved zone control.

  • Treated Wood for Ground Contact, Minus the Toxic Pesticides

    Product Review

    Accoya, now code-approved for fungus and termite resistance, relies on acetylation as a benign alternative to conventional pressure-treated wood.