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If you thought that "going green" might harm your bottom line, you can stop worrying. A 2012 study conducted at Notre Dame University which looked at over 500 PNC branches found that LEED certified PNC bank branches were performing better, profit-wise, than their non-LEED certified counterparts. In fact, customers were even depositing more money at the LEED certified branches!

The study never pinned down exactly why that was so -- whether customers were finding the LEED certified branches more inviting or whether their more comfortable employees were just being more productive. Either way, the LEED certified branches made more money, and it's a safe bet to say their employees appreciated their working environment, too! Either way, their findings support a growing consensus that you certainly don't have to "sacrifice" profitability to become more socially responsible and use more sustainable building materials.

In case you're not familiar with it, LEED is an acronym for "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design", and to become LEED certified requires that your building must meet certain MPRs (that's short for Minimum Program Requirements.)

Another interesting aspect of achieving LEED certification is that you'll save money on your day-to-day operating costs, according to the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council). Expect to reduce cost on maintenance, energy, and water all while reducing waste. That's a win-win from every angle! And if you need more incentive, consider that because of these savings combined with increased efficiency, getting back the money you put in won’t take as long as you’d expect; According to the USGBC, green retrofit projects can expect to recoup their investment in as few as 7 years!

If you'd like to learn more about obtaining LEED certification and exactly what it entails, contact us at Scott Henson Architect today.  

Published in Landmarks Preservation

LEED certification: Silver, Gold, and Platinum- does it add any real value to a commercial construction project? LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Developed by the United States Green Building Council, LEED seeks to reward the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of buildings that meet standards for sustainability, performance, health, and resource efficiency.

LEED certifies over 1.85 million square feet of construction space daily, and as such, has become known as the benchmark of excellence in sustainable design and construction. Both industry professionals and consumers know LEED certification means quality, sustainability, and energy savings.

LEED boasts benefits to people, planet and profit. These profits include increased building value, higher lease rates, and decreased utility costs. By 2018 LEED certified buildings will contribute over 29.8 billion to the US economy. Value in green building accrues in two ways:

1. Sustainable design increases a building’s value up front, with an estimated 4% increase in estimated value yearly.

2. Maintenance costs for green buildings are estimated at 20% lower.

The actual cost to build green is competitive with traditional means of design and construction, with an estimated premium of only 1-3 %, which can be paid back by energy savings in as little as a year. The application process for LEED certification for commercial projects, including campus buildings, is detailed on the US Green Building Council website.

For more information on sustainable architecture, please contact us.

Published in Sustainability
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The Cost Efficiency of LEED Certification

If you've noticed that buildings that bear a LEED plaque cost more than buildings without, you're not imagining things. Structures built to Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design standards typically cost more at first, but the savings accrued over the life of the building more than offset the initial higher price.

The ultimate cost efficiency of LEED certification is easy to understand, when you realize the many ways that certified structures save money in the long run. LEED structures are:

Energy efficient

Envelopes and duct works are individually inspected for leakage prior to being eligible for LEED certification. Certified structures require less energy to keep warm during winter and to stay cool in summertime. Many LEED certified homes are built with solar power capabilities, decreasing their reliance on expensive “grid” electricity.

Healthier for humans

LEED certified structures are built with safe materials that meet or exceed strict environmental standards. When a building boasts a LEED plaque, you are assured that the interior is free of hazardous asbestos, lead paint or other toxic materials. Better interior air quality and access to natural sunlight makes for happier, healthier occupants.

Better for the environment

LEED certified buildings are designed and constructed to minimize water usage, indoors and out. Less potable water consumption reduces environmental impact while keeping operating costs lean and affordable. A number of LEED certified structures boast vegetative roofs that produce oxygen on an otherwise underused space.

More attractive to tenants and buyers

These days, more and more people are invested in the concept of “going green.” LEED certified structures are innovative, forward-thinking and cost efficient. When potential tenants and buyers see the LEED certification plaque, their interest increases exponentially.

Henson Architecture offers a number of sustainability strategies to ensure that your building qualifies for LEED certification. We perform feasibility studies, environmental surveys and energy audits that fully comply with local New York City regulations. When you're ready to know more about LEED certification and what it can do for you, contact us without delay.

Published in Sustainability


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