Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why Green Construction Could Be Less Expensive

We in the field who follow developments in green construction frequently hear that it is wonderful to "go green," but unfortunately it is usually more expensive. For that reason, "green" is still more of an upper class option, or one for those who do it because they are committed to improving our environment.

Some experts say that green can be a "no lose" proposition when the construction is carefully planned, and the energy savings performance offsets the increased costs of construction, materials and supplies. However, the amount of funds saved may not offset the initial cost of green construction for years. The calculations seem to indicate that they eventually will.

One of the factors in making a green construction project a success is planning. Ideally, the project will have all of the subcontractors on board from the beginning. Materials will be chosen in advance. The team will coordinate and work together when the project commences. Design defects will be discovered. Everyone will be on the same page. Disagreements will surface early and be resolved.

All of these characteristics of a properly orchestrated green project can save huge amounts of money that is wasted on unnecessary delays, errors that require fixing, mis-ordered or delayed supplies, subcontractors who do not show up when expected, etc.

In a perfect world, projects operate like clockwork, delays never occur, costs never increase, and concealed conditions do not exist. However, that is not the reality of the life of a construction project. Interestingly enough, the model for how to properly execute a green construction project can clearly prevent a number of these issues. That's why I believe that green construction projects do not only make environmental and moral sense, they make economic sense as well.