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Earning LEED-EB Costs Little, Report Finds

Latest News > Green Building News

The majority of measures associated with gaining LEED-Existing Building status include low or no costs, according to a survey of LEED-EB owners and managers. The study looks at the costs of implementing LEED-EB and how operating costs compare to other buildings.

The study, "The Economics of LEED for Existing Buildings for Individual Buildings," was conducted by the nonprofit Leonardo Academy, Madison, WI, which is dedicated to advancing sustainability and putting the competitive market to work on improving the environment.

The Academy sent surveys to all LEED-EB buildings, 53 at the time of the survey, and received 23 responses. Building owners and operators were asked to identify which LEED-EB measures were low/no cost actions and which had significant costs.

More than 70% of measures in each of the credit categories of sustainable sites, materials and resources, water efficiency and indoor air quality were labeled as low/no cost. About 60% of measures in each of the credit categories of innovations and energy/atmosphere were also identified as low/no cost. The white paper includes a breakdown of all LEED-EB credits and how many respondents consider each one to be low/no cost.

Among prerequisites, which include erosion and sedimentation control, asbestos removal or encapsulation, ozone protection and minimum water efficiency, only one prerequisite, building commissioning, was not named by a majority of respondents as low/no cost.

The overall cost of LEED-EB ranged from nothing to $6.46 per square foot for the 14 respondents that supplied such information, with the average cost hovering around $2.43 per square foot. Included in the report is a look at the different costs associated with each level of certification, including staff time, labor, consulting and fees.

Fewer respondents provided information on their operating costs. Of the 11 that did, seven had lower operating expenses per square foot than the average operating cost from a Building Owners and Managers Association report. Click here to read the complete report.