Green Building Performance Study Finds Range of Energy Savings and “Green Premium” Costs
An analysis of 51 LEED-certified green projects in Illinois found that most—specifically those that prioritized energy efficiency during the design and construction phase—use less energy than a typical commercial building. The study also showed that additional costs associated with green construction varied across projects, with a median value of $3.81 per square foot. In addition, building occupants are generally satisfied with their work environment and the commute to these LEED® projects.
“Not all green buildings are alike when it comes to energy efficiency,” said Anne Evens, director of the nonprofit CNT Energy, which conducted the study in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council – Illinois Chapter (USGBC – Illinois). “Maximizing efficiency requires starting with the right priorities, monitoring usage, and tweaking operations and maintenance over the life of a building. Buildings account for a large portion of our global warming emissions here in Chicago, and building owners need to be diligent about efficiency to reduce emissions and save on utility bills.”
The study, “Regional Green Building Case Study: Year Two Report,” is a follow-up to a 2009 study that examined the energy usage and other environmental factors in 25 LEED-certified buildings in Illinois. Of the 51 buildings in this report, 19 also participated in 2009. To receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the U.S. Green Building Council rates green building projects on a point system for features that improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality, water use, and other areas. CNT Energy analyzed how projects performed over multiple years in areas including energy and water use, greenhouse gas emissions, operating costs, commute transportation and occupant comfort.