Green Building Myths Debunked?

A new study shows that green buildings are far more expensive than they are made out to be, and that it may take longer than advertised for energy savings to cancel out costs.
March 4, 2009, 9am PST | Judy Chang
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Jeffrey Harris, a vice president at the pro-efficiency group Alliance to Save Energy, said these claims have a sturdy foundation in the laboratorys and in the real world. He pointed to the Energy Department's data on high-performance buildings, as well as other databases containing information on existing buildings. Engineers and green-building leaders, he said, 'are not breaking a huge amount of sweat in getting beyond 30 percent in code.'

He also had major question marks about the NAIOP study. He called the 10-year payback target 'an undershot,' since the savings of a green building continue as long as it's still standing. He also questioned the report's assumptions about electricity prices and the cost of certain 'green' features."

"[John] Bryant, [an] NAIOP lobbyist, disagreed. He said commercial building developers routinely make decisions based on a five-to-10-year payback period, and if green buildings broke even that quickly, builders would have erected more.

'We're looking at it from a developer point of view, when maybe some of the other groups aren't,' he said."

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Published on Friday, February 27, 2009 in The New York Times
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