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Report Takes Look at Costs Related to Pursuit of LEED for Existing Buildings

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MADISON, WIS.— 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. In “The Economics of LEED for Existing Buildings for Individual Buildings,” the nonprofit Leonardo Academy looks at the costs of implementing LEED-EB and how operating costs compare to other buildings.

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 percent 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 percent 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.

Building Commissioning Not Low 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.

Go to Leonardo Academy.

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