According to two recent studies, LEED-Certified and Energy Star rated buildings save significant energy relative to the national average and make sound investments.
One study, published by the CoStar Group, looked at LEED-certified and Energy Star buildings. It found that these green buildings demand a rent premium, have higher occupancy rates and lower operating costs, and achieve higher sale prices. Essentially, green buildings look like a better investment than non-green buildings.
The other study, conducted by the New Buildings Institute, found that the average LEED for New Construction building use 25-30% less energy than an average building. Ironically, it found that some certified buildings actually use more energy than the code baseline. According to the study, “Variation in results is likely to come from a number of sources, including differences in operational practices and schedules, equipment, construction changes and other issues not anticipated in the energy modeling process. More in-depth analysis of some of the best and worst performers could identify ways to eliminate the poorer outcomes and communicate lessons from the best results.”
Woodard & Curran’s new office expansion in Portland, ME was recently recognized as LEED Certified. When compared to older portions of the building Woodard & Curran also occupies, monthly utility bills in our LEED space show 10% less electricity usage, between 12% and 67% less natural gas usage (heating and cooling season, respectively), and 25% less water consumption.
Our experience confirms the findings of these studies, suggesting that green buildings will soon be the common-sense choice, whether or not states continue to mandate them.
Contributed by Barry Sheff, P.E.