I was on LinkedIn Answers, browsing for opportunities to share what knowledge I have. In the commercial real estate category, I saw a question essentially asking, “Is sustainable building design becoming mainstream?” Ironically, I had been brainstorming how to write a blog post on just such a topic, so now I could get two for the price of one. After completing the response to the question, I decided to adapt the answer to a post, which you will find below.
We are at the point where “green buildings” are finally being accepted in the traditional construction arena. I have provided a link to the US Green Building Council’s report, The Cost of Green Revisited. In July of 2007, Davis Langdon published a sequel to his “Costing Green: A
Comprehensive Cost Database and Budget Methodology” paper from 2004. In the 2007 report, Langdon re-evaluates the popularity and cost of green construction across several different building use types. For the most part, his findings show that there is no major cost difference between conventional building and green, or environmentally aware, construction. Since cost is often the biggest factor in deciding to embrace a new technology or approach with proven benefits, it is safe to say that green techniques are now being accepted.
Now, are we reaching a “tipping point”? Technically, we are approaching the tipping point because we are not moving toward less environmentally sound building practices in general. But more importantly, how quickly are we approaching the point where green design is the norm? A recent article on Multi-Housing News, entitled It’s Not Easy, Leasing Green, makes a good point that the brokers involved in the deals have to understand “green” before they can comfortably position it to their tenants or clients. In this article, six major firms are identified as taking steps to educate their brokers and I know that my firm, not mentioned, as well as a couple of others, are also actively pushing greater knowledge of LEED requirements and green building approaches. So, we are approaching the “tipping point”, but it is an on-going process, as each step forward will also open the door to newer, better techniques for building environmentally-conscious buildings.