Top reasons your construction company should build green

Published: Dec 02, 2013

EPA describes a green building as one “designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment”. Green building, also known as sustainable construction, is becоming a popular concept worldwide. And there's good reason for that. It is estimated that 39% of total energy consumption and 65% of electricity consumption in the US can be attributed to buildings. So it's not surprising that lawmakers, both at state and federal level, are trying to encourage green construction. If you own a construction company and are wondering if you should go in for sustainable construction, consider these benefits.

Occupant Satisfaction

Green construction constantly addresses the use of materials that are non-toxic and have a favorable effect on occupant well-being. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) uses the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification system when evaluating green buildings. It's currently working on LEED's fourth update which addresses such issues as air quality and the overall effect on human health. This is likely to spur further interest in green buildings from people with certain health conditions and those wishing to improve their general well-being.

Reduced Costs

It might come as a surprise, but building sustainably isn't always more expensive than building the traditional way. Even when it is slightly more expensive, the difference is more than offset in the long run. Green buildings have much lower running costs and utility bills. Thus, more and more end customers realize sustainable buildings are worth the extra intial investment. Moreover, the price of green buildings remain more stable over time when compared to traditional buildings. Finally, a factor that might be considered for commercial buildings – studies show occupants of green buildings are more productive and therefore their labor – more cost-efficient.

Incentives for Builders

On a federal level, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 allowed for some tax deduction from the costs of making commercial buildings more energy efficient. The incentive was initially planned for just a year (from 2006 to 2007), but was later extended till the end of 2013. Similar pieces of legislation are very likely to be adopted in the future as well. As for cities and states, a lot of them have already put their own incentives for promoting sustainable construction. Currently, California and Texas seem to be the country leaders in various LEED projects.

Time of Execution

Building sustainably typically doesn't take more time than building traditionally. This is an important factor when applying for public work projects. Federal and state projects often require construction companies to post performance and payment bonds. They are a financial guarantee that the winner of the project will execute all terms of the contract in a timely manner. Choosing green construction methods is not likely to affect building time and get you in trouble.

Better for the Environment

Sustainable construction is much gentler to the environment and our natural resources. For one thing, it uses about 30% less water than traditional construction methods. It produces less waste and doesn't use toxic materials which are likely to affect nearby communities or disrupt biodiversity. But it doesn't stop there. Since the end product is much more energy efficient, the environmental footprint over the course of its lifetime is also much lower. This is a very important point as energy demand is projected to increase in the future.

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