Not Building Green Is Called a Matter of Economics

No compelling economic reasons for building green, specialists contend.

Published: 17-Jan-2003

VILLE, Md., Jan. 8 — The tools for constructing environmentally conscious, energy-efficient office buildings have existed for decades, but commercial developers have not adopted the principles of what is commonly called green or sustainable building because a compelling case demonstrating the economic rewards has not been made, according to specialists in real estate, finance, design, construction and environmental health and safety.

"This is a concept that has sputtered along for 20 or 30 years," said Daniel R. Tishman, executive vice president of Tishman Realty Corporation. "It's an economic thing."

It is a phenomenon with parallels to the popularity of sport utility vehicles, except that buildings are responsible for more than 36 percent of the country's energy consumption, and transportation only 27 percent, according to the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy.

A movement is under way to promote green development as economically compelling, complete with a trade organization that sets standards and awards certifications to buildings under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program administered by the private U.S. Green Building Council. This amounts to the early stages of an effort to create a marketable brand of buildings, one that addresses environmental issues outside the scope of the government's Energy Star program.

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