Building a Green GarageThe question of whether or not "green" construction methods are more costly than traditional construction methods is a hot topic these days. It is a complex subject that can be difficult to quantify since many of the benefits have no dollar value.
If you were to ask just about anybody, they would probably assume that the construction of a green building costs more than a traditional building. They would be right, but they would probably be surprised to find out how little extra it costs to go green. A recent study conducted by consulting firm Davis Langdon and the Urban Green Council showed that the increased cost of certified "green" construction in New York during 2008 was minimal: $440 per square foot compared to $436 per square foot for non-certified buildings. This equates to only a 1% cost increase for green construction! Of course, these cost calculations are for a commercial high-rise in New York, and are most likely far more expensive than the construction costs of your new garage. However, it does help disprove the myth that green construction is unattainably expensive. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) estimates the increased cost between 2% - 5% - still a very minimal amount. In many cases, the initial startup costs are higher, but the overall lifecycle cost to maintain and operate the building is lower due to energy optimizing measures used during construction.
While green construction may have additional monetary costs, it also affords us other savings that are not so easily calculated. For example, if green buildings operate more efficiently, they will burn fewer fossil fuels and ultimately promote cleaner air. And if fewer hazardous chemicals are used in the products we put in our homes, garages and offices (and believe me, they are everywhere - from the paint on our walls, to the finish on our hardwood floors, to the linens on our beds), it will enhance our health and decrease a wide variety of harmful (and potentially painful) side effects. How do we put a price on our safety and wellness? How do we put a price on the safety and wellness of our planet?