Economic Sense


You can build green affordable housing for the same price as conventional residential development. In fact, green, high performance techniques, systems, and materials will deliver more efficient, durable, and therefore more valuable housing. The returns on your investment will accrue to owners, residents, neighbors, local governments, the regional economy - and of course, your own bottom line.

Low cost, life long

While adopting high performance green building techniques and materials can take additional time at the outset, they will pay off in lower construction costs and much lower operations and maintenance costs over the long term. Life-cycle cost analysis and now many existing green developments continue to prove that building green generates life-long savings.

Lower construction costs

Building green now costs less than ever -- only one to four percent more than a conventional residential development, according to a recent study. That differential represents the investment required to ensure high-quality design and materials. The resulting coordinated approach and design efficiencies will cut construction expenses and let you recoup much of the initial cost before the project is even complete. Savings come from reuse and recycling instead of conventional waste disposal, efficient design and new techniques that reduce materials use, and fewer change orders. As your team gains experience with high performance methods and materials, you will reduce the knowledge premium, lower costs, and develop a competitive advantage. Go to the Lower Construction Costs page.

Reduced operating costs

The cost of operating and maintaining a building is three to four times the price of construction. However, efficiency improvements and durable design make your green buildings significantly cheaper to care for than conventional buildings. Utility savings add up for owners and residents--high performance design cuts electricity and water use by approximately 30 percent. Maintenance savings are across the board: hardy landscaping, fewer resident complaints, more durable materials, and no moisture problems. These savings make your building more valuable. In fact, green homes are a hot commodity for renters and buyers. It's no surprise that insurance companies are beginning to offer discounted coverage for high performance buildings. Go to the Improved Life-cycle Costs page.

Sustaining the economy

Your commitment to green affordable housing strengthens the economy in everything from the jobs you help provide through green construction to the savings that you help residents achieve through their new and improved homes. Go to the Sustaining the Economy page.

Truly affordable housing

Because energy and fuel costs have risen with real estate prices in recent years, building green, efficient homes for working class families goes a long way towards keeping them affordable. When you respond to the need for high performance, low-cost housing near commercial centers, you make it possible for critical municipal workers like police officers, nurses, and teachers to live near their jobs while reducing traffic congestion for everyone.

Powering the economy with efficiency

Your investment in energy efficiency creates almost twice as many jobs as the same amount invested in a gas-fired power plant. Residents benefit from lower utility bills, and those savings translate into consumer spending (in addition to on-time rent or mortgage payments). The approximately 30 percent in overall energy savings achieved by green buildings also brings down the market price of electricity, generating savings for all utility customers in the region. Go to the Energy Efficiency page.

Taking the pressure off public services

Just as reduced electricity demand improves the performance of the power grid and transit-accessible housing eases traffic, water efficient homes achieve savings in treatment and distribution costs. Sewer systems and local rivers and streams also benefit when you reduce water use and control stormwater runoff by keeping more water on site. Since improved indoor air quality reduces respiratory ailments such as asthma, green housing should also ease pressure on the medical system.

Growing green businesses

Each green project creates jobs by growing the market for a range of services and industries, including energy rating, more rigorous building operations and maintenance, green cleaning, and the manufacturing, salvage, and recycling of building materials. Local businesses are taking advantage of this burgeoning market, and green developments are attracting clean technologies firms to cities and regions that value sustainability. By building green, you will not only gain experience in cutting edge design and construction techniques, you will also work in partnership with regional manufacturers and the community, leading you to understand local environmental conditions in ways that will give you an advantage for future projects. Go to the Building New Industries page.

In this Section:

Lower Construction Costs

Building green affordable housing can be more cost-effective than building traditional affordable housing. Integrated design cuts costs by building upon natural interdependencies in building approaches and systems; Commissioning helps your...

Improved life-cycle costs

The green payoff Construction costs represent less than 20 percent of the total costs of a building. Operating costs comprise the majority of the overall life-cycle costs. When you build...

Sustaining the economy

Each green affordable housing unit strengthens the economy by creating sustainable, healthy living spaces, building a market for green products, and investing in a future where residents will spend their...

Building new industries

Green building blocks Each green building project creates jobs by growing the market for a wide range of products and services, including high performance building materials, energy rating services, weatherization,...