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Can I Reduce Costs by Building Green?

Owners Guide to Cost Savings on a Sustainable (Green) Project
By Manish Kalantri, AIA, CCM, CEM, CRM, CPMP, LEED AP

There are three approaches to incorporating sustainability in the design of a project.

1. Any size project will need to meet the current Local Building Code requirements.

2. The Owner seeks the opportunity to implement sustainable approaches. This is to save money on construction investments for new and existing upgrade projects through future Returns on Investments (ROI).

3. Venturing a high performance home or building for a higher return on investment.

These are three paths that will be discussed in this guide to addresses a means of selecting the type of services you are looking for in your green project.

Meeting the current local sustainability requirements from the Authorities Having Jurisdiction is a requirement. Currently, construction activity is peaking Nationwide, the Energy Code in your Region is a resource. This code was adapted by standards from entities like ASHRAE that create building standards.

The Energy Code is a requirement to control the carbon foot print and greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. This code must be complied to in every project. The Owner is required to meet the minimum basis of sustainability when using the energy code in their project.

If the Owner and designer aim to emphasize sustainability to help the environment or save more money, they should reach for the resources that the energy code was based on. Essentially, the Energy Code in your city or local area is perhaps the primary means of controlling and providing a direction on sustainability. If the Owner should intend to achieve higher results they must seek a Professional who comprehends all factors.

Generally, the Architect that is certified in LEED or Energy Management and Commissioning should be able to advise the Owner of a suitable approach for enhancing the sustainability criteria of the project. The dialogue between the Architect and Owner should distinctly entail how complying to the overall building code is changing the design and what the expected construction cost are for achieving a better project.

The performance criteria of building materials and other products for the project are selected based on the specific requirements of the Energy Code. If the Owner decides to move forward to make the project more sustainable than the Professional should aid in establishing the extent of sustainable goals of the project. Generally, the first-cost budget should not be the only deciding project factor when upgrading an existing structure or constructing a new building. The Owner should set budgetary parameters in terms of how investments made now will reap a higher cost benefits over the life cycle of the building.

The higher the building systems performance of a building the faster the Return on Investment of a project. Therefore, the intent of the Owner on gaining future cost savings through a sustainable project should be based on design methods that save money. You as the Owner can stop exorbitant costs on maintenance and energy usage of your upgraded buildings by this dialogue with the Architect.

The Owners intent is carried through drawings and specifications called Construction Documents coordinated by the Architect before construction starts. Every phase leading up to the Construction Documents is critical in the development of an environmentally friendly project that helps to achieve your future financial projections.

Procuring expertise to develop such a project of a cost savings and environmentally friendly project is critical. Not only is this about how sustainability fits into the overall program and plan, but also how smaller parts work with the overall processes of the built project.

The ability of the Architect to envision for the Owner from concept to completion is dependent on how well the facts are understood and acted upon and most importantly how thoroughly they are documented. Depending on the size of the project, the coordination of all trades to integrate and make each small portion of a project come together with the Architect is key during the planning phases. The trust between the Owner and Architect is based on not only how the Owners needs are being met but how well solutions to unexpected problems are being reached. The expertise of a Professional is dependent on how to take diverse information and combine it into the project for fulfilling the overall vision of sustainability for all the different conditions and perhaps circumstances.

A high performance building is based on how much it exceed the energy code requirements for reduction on usage that ultimately yields to higher cost savings. All building systems in high performance buildings are constructed to attribute to the highest level of energy savings throughout the life cycle of the building.

In developing a high performance building, the Architect should realize the need for the integration of Engineers and Builders as a resource. The specific tasks of all trades are important, but the Architect must decide a suitable building system.

The very nature of building systems in existing or new structures take into account multiple energy consumption factors. This is coordinated with the Occupant’s comfort that everyone must know about.

The determining factors in developing a sustainable project should not solely be made on first cost budget. This decisions should also have a consideration of how soon an investment will payback and where carbon emissions and unbalanced energy consumption can be mitigated.

Sustainability with the pursuit of preserving existing places for a better future can lead the Owner to realize how a project can be an asset. It is ultimately up to the Owner to either take the minimum path or envision a future that does not rely on fluctuations and unpredictability.

Shiv Architecture P.C. offers easy to understand methods for you to get your sustainability project built with easy steps. We aim to communicate what you need to know and how we will complete your vision.

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About the Author

Manish Kalantri, Shiv Architecture P.C.
Forest Hills, NY 11375

Contact Author: request info

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