Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Development: Green, Yes; LEED, Not So Much

Paul Bubny

NEW YORK CITY-Owners, developers and corporate occupiers are more likely to construct or renovate a building with sustainability in mind than they were two years ago, Turner Construction Co. said Thursday. However, the builder’s Market Barometer survey also found that less than half of respondents would pursue LEEDcertification from the US Green Building Council.
With energy efficiency and ongoing operations and maintenance costs each cited as key drivers by 84% of respondents, the appetite for sustainable building is greater than in 2010, when Turner last conducted the survey. Sixty-four percent said they expect to undertake new construction projects over the next 12 months, while 71% said they intend to undertake renovation projects during the same period. Those numbers are up from 46% and 58%, respectively, in the ‘10 survey, although concerns remain about the costs and the length of the payback period.
Going in the opposite direction, however, is the percentage of executives who said that going for LEED certification on new construction was “extremely likely” or “very likely.” The figure in this year’s survey is 48%, down from 53% in the ‘10 survey and from 61% in 2008.
Among survey respondents who said their companies weren’t likely to seek LEED certification for new builds, the cost of the certification process was cited by 82%. This was followed by staff time required (79%), time required for the process (75%) and the overall perceived difficulty of the process (74%).
However, 41% of executives thought it was at least somewhat likely that they’d consider certification under a rating system other than LEED, with 63% of those respondents preferring Energy Star. A USGBC spokeswoman did not respond to’s calls by deadline. 
“We’ve seen from our own work and the continuing growth of the green building market that in spite of this reduction in enthusiasm for LEED certification, respondents are still building green,” Michael Deane, VP and chief sustainability officer at Turner, says in a release. “While some respondents are relying on their own standards or are considering another rating system, LEED certification remains the most widely used third party verification of achievement that is recognized by consumers and that can be used to market and promote a property.”

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