HVAC Breaking News / News

Dec. 5, 2011: Report Says Green Buildings Cost Less to Maintain

December 5, 2011
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
WASHINGTON — In addition to emitting less carbon dioxide and using less water, sustainably designed federal buildings cost 19 percent less to maintain, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The results are included in a white paper released by the General Services Administration (GSA).

The GSA commissioned PNNL to conduct a post-occupancy evaluation of 22 green federal buildings from across the country. In the report, PNNL found that, on average, green buildings, compared to commercial buildings in general:

• Cost less to maintain, by 19 percent;

• Use less energy, by 25 percent, and less water, by 11 percent;

• Emit less carbon dioxide, by 34 percent; and

• Have more satisfied occupants, by 27 percent.

“To measure green building performance you must look at the building holistically, which includes the occupants and maintenance impacts in addition to the commonly targeted energy and water use,” said Kim Fowler, a senior research engineer and buildings relationship manager at PNNL, who is lead author of the paper. “One can design and construct a building well, with the greenest of specifications, but if it’s not operated well or isn’t meeting the needs of the occupants, the grandest intents go out the operable window.”

The PNNL team conducted the analysis in seven of GSA’s national administrative regions to evaluate how well its sustainably designed buildings are performing in comparison to average commercial buildings and to GSA’s baseline measurements of its sustainably constructed buildings. Researchers worked with building contacts to collect data from utility bills about energy and water use, maintenance and operations costs, and waste and recycling costs. They also conducted a survey to glean information about occupant commute and satisfaction. They then compared those results to national averages.

One of the buildings evaluated is the U.S. Courthouse in downtown Seattle. The courthouse has been deemed one of the safest structures ever built. In 2004 the courthouse won GSA’s award for construction excellence. It features radiant floor heating, high-efficiency lighting, an energy management system, natural gas boiler, and waterless urinals. PNNL’s analysis found that, despite a slightly higher janitorial cost, the U.S. Courthouse’s operating costs are 35 percent lower than the industry baseline.

To access the GSA white paper highlighting the results of the PNNL report, go to http://gsa.gov/graphics/pbs/Green_Building_Performance.pdf.

Publication date: 12/05/2011

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

2014 MCAA Annual Convention

Scenes from the 2014 MCAA Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Podcasts

NEWSmakers: Julian Scadden

Training is an ongoing process. Julian will discuss how you can generate maximum return on time and energy invested training by following a three part process. Listen to this podcast to get expert tips on training, tracking and follow up. 

More Podcasts

ACHRNEWS

NEWS 04-21-14 cover

2014 April 21

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

SERVICE CALLS POLL

Which statement on service calls best applies to your business?
View Results Poll Archive

HVACR INDUSTRY STORE

plumbing-hvac.gif
2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research

 

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

DON'T MISS A THING

Magazine image
 
Register today for complete access to ACHRNews.com. Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con