Green Buildings Costly

The new Worker’s Compensation State Fund building cost over $27 million. Its LEED Gold rating cost 12% additional, according to the CEO, so it cost about $3 million to “go green.”

How does that pay off? Not so well.

If a commercial building normally costs $1.00 per square foot to heat, cool and light, normal utility bills would be $110,000/year for this building. Because it’s LEED Gold, it will save 15% or  $16,500 per year, $1,375 per month.

But the building payment is $16,457 per month more for the green features and energy cost savings is only $1,375. Rate payers pay $15,082 monthly for the comfort of that green feeling.  Sounds more Gold than green. Is that why the LEED folks call it a Gold rating?


6 Responses

  1. “If its green LEED Gold rating cost 12%…”

    “If unicorns really can fly…”

    It is all about assumptions. You make some perfectly reasonable arguments on this blog based on totally false assumptions. Computer scientists call this the GIGO principle, “garbage in, garbage out.” A simple visit to the googles finds:

    A 2004 study by Davis Langdon Adamson, a construction cost-planning and management company, found that the first costs of constructing a sustainable building tend to match or only slightly exceed those of comparable non-green buildings. The study, Costing Green: A Comprehensive Cost Database and Budgeting Methodology (click here to see the report, in pdf), measured the square-foot construction costs of 61 buildings seeking certification under the LEED green building rating system against those of buildings of similar type that did not aim for sustainability. Taking into account a range of construction factors including climate, location, market conditions and local standards, the study found that for many of the green projects, pursuing LEED certification had little or no budgetary impact.

  2. Me again. You once told me that the Bozeman Public Library building was the biggest waste of money imaginable, because it was green. I really wish that I could remember the exact quote. I was completely stunned at the time. The library is arguably the most beloved building in all of Bozeman. It is a “common good” that I am thrilled to pay for through the taxes I pay.

    I suggest you tell the people of Bozeman what you really think during the next election. I guarantee that a recount won’t be required.

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