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Is Green Construction More Expensive?

As we mature as a species, most people realize we need to take care of our world. That being said, most people think doing so is expensive. So, what does green construction cost?

The cost of green construction is a rather complex subject. It is an easily misunderstood subject also. One reason for this is the idea of an integrated approach that considers the economic benefits of any green project in relationship to the cost. The up front costs of a project may be higher. Yet, these costs are often balanced against the long term low operating costs of the building. It is further complicated by the fact that many of the benefits of the green approach cannot be easily expressed in dollar and cents. If our personal environment is safer and cleaner, and our health is better as a result, how do we quantify this?

In one example cost study done in California, $1578 was added to the cost of a home in order to bring it to a minimal green construction level. The additional costs went into projects that made the home more energy efficient. The estimate was that at current energy costs, the savings would be $185 per year. The initial cost would be amortized over the length of an 8 percent mortgage, and this would yield an additional cost of $139 a year. So, the net result would really be a savings of $46 dollars per year. It is how one prefers to look at this example that they would answer the question of cost. One approach claims the green construction improvements cost over fifteen hundred dollars. Another approach claims that the green improvements actually save over forty dollars per year. It is all a matter of perspective.

Most experts agree that green construction cost ranges from nothing at all to a nominal cost. It is possible to go to the next level and increase costs by using exotic items in the building plan. In most cases, this is not done, and the cost of the green structure does not differ much from the cost of the traditional building. Most builders are trying to do the right thing today anyway. Even when they do not consider what they are doing as green, they still try to do the right thing. They also have some very strict codes they must follow.

It is hard to compare recent projects. Green construction planners do not normally do cost estimates on their jobs comparing traditional costs. Traditional planners do not usually do cost estimates on green construction costs for their projects. In a recent study of 33 properties in California that did compare costs, the cost of going green was about 2 percent higher. This amounted to about $3 to $5 per square foot.

Green construction might very well be the wave of the future. Many new projects take years from the initial planning to the completion of construction. It is likely that code changes, and customer demands will change over the next few years. What would be the cost of scrapping a construction project and starting over again? Green construction costs little, and sometime even saves. It is the wave of the future though, and the bigger cost might come from ignoring it.

Zack Verde is with http://www.GreenBuildingCompanies.com - providing information on going green.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Zack_Verde


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