- Mark McDowell
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Green Construction Comprises One-Third of All U.S. Projects
Although construction in the United States has been slow since the financial meltdown of 2008, there is one niche segment that is thriving – green construction. According to McGraw-Hill Construction, green buildings now comprise one-third of all new construction, an increase of two percent over 2005, a surprise in an industry that is historically slow to change.
A case in point is the new Silver LEED-certified Ross School of Business building at the University of Michigan. The environmentally friendly building incorporates technologies such as dual-flush toilets, which use 0.8 gallons of water instead of 1.6 gallons. Firm in the knowledge that LEED certification is worth the money, the University of Michigan is now committed to going green on all new construction projects that cost $10 million or more.
Terry Alexander, Executive Director of the university’s Office for Campus Sustainability, notes that the added cost of LEED certification is actually a small percentage. Because the university already saves energy and water in its new buildings, the extra cost on a $100 million Silver LEED project would be just two percent. That includes the hard cost of eco-friendly features as well as soft costs for the paperwork required to achieve LEED certification. Alexander says that Michigan is confident that the LEED plaque sends a message about the university’s environmental priorities and that it increases the school’s prestige with students and employees.