Green Buildings and Sustainable Development by morgossi7a8


 Economic analysis can be difficult because some of the
  costs and benefits of Green Development, such as
  environmental and social, are intangible.
 in many cases Depending upon multiple factors in any
  given situation, the outcome of a cost/benefit analysis
  will vary.
 The following discussion highlights the economic
  benefits and costs connected to green development.
Modes of Transportation/Traffic
Greenways can serve as alternative transportation routes for commuting
  to work or school, bicycling or walking to local businesses or
  restaurants, visiting parks and recreation sites, or sightseeing.
 Trails can often be designed in conjunction with utility corridors and
  pipelines, thereby reducing site preparation costs to the developer.
 A Maryland Greenways Commission survey found that 21 percent of
  those interviewed would use such a trail system for commuting two or
  three times a week, which would decrease road congestion and reduce
“Urban sprawl” is occurring due to People moving to the suburbs and
  commuting longer distances to their workplace.
 the average household trip increased from 7.9 to 9.0 miles from 1983 to
Modes of Transportation/Traffic
 The average vehicle miles traveled per household rose 29 percent with
  each household generating an average 11 car trips per day.
neo-traditional designs promote moving people, not cars. Thus they
  have narrower streets, with more access roads.
 In addition to reducing impervious area and related storm water flows,
  narrow streets, combined with a gridded road pattern are designed to
  reduce vehicle speeds, improving safety and making the streets more
  accessible to pedestrians and cyclists.
Mass transit such as busses and light rail are other obvious means of
  vehicle emissions reduction.
Displaced Agricultural Land
 Green development approaches that concentrate development in
  urban centers avoid the costs associated with displacing
  agricultural land.
 Low-density development reduces revenues from agricultural
  crop production and destroys wildlife habitat.
 Between 1982 and 1992, 532,000 acres of Colorado's farmland was
  developed commercial or residential (Gersh, 1996).
 Similarly, in Utah, where the amount of developed land
  increased by 25 percent during the same time frame, Defenders
  of Wildlife reports that 200 plants are now considered to be
 Residential development in rural areas costs more to serve than it
    generates in tax revenue ("Two Possible Futures," 1992).
   farms generate $1 in revenue for every $0.21 of services needed while
    rural development costs $1.20 in services for every $1 they generate.
   Because low-density developments require more services to be
    extended into rural areas, localities are primed to face revenue
    In contrast, green development approaches concentrate development
    near downtown areas, requiring far less public spending because they
    can rely on existing water and sewer lines, roads, and other municipal
   Some places exercise tax reform where buildings are taxed lower than
    land to promotes development within city limits
Infrastructure and Public Services
 Green development approaches concentrate development, reducing
  the need for additional infrastructure.
 Studies have shown that the further away from facilities or major
  employment centers, and/or a decrease in density causes drastic cost
 This focuses on the costs of streets, sewers, water systems, storm
  drainage, and schools at the neighborhood level, while associating the
  costs of providing highway, sewer, and water links at the regional level.
Development Costs and Savings
 In terms of investment, Green, high-density developments are more
  cost effective to develop.
 Rutgers University study for the state of New Jersey, Projecting from
  1990 to 2010, “planned development” could save taxpayers $9.3 billion
  in avoided capital, operation, and maintenance costs for roads, schools,
  and utilities. Meanwhile, 175,000 acres of land would also be saved.
  (Gersh, 1996)
 infrastructure constitutes approximately half the cost of residential
  subdivision construction. High-density development typically reduces
  infrastructure demands. For example, road length can be cut by 50 to
  75 percent.
 In addition narrower road widths reduce road surface area by 25 to 35
Development Costs the issueSavings
 The state of California has explored
                                       and of whether green
  buildings are more expensive than standard construction
  through a study-The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green
  Buildings: A Report to California’s Sustainable Building Task
  Force—led by Greg Kats of Capital E consultants and published
  in October 2003
 This is the Most rigorous study ever done on the costs and
  benefits of green buildings as defined by the U.S. Green Building
  Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
  (LEED) program.
 Drawing on national data for 100 green buildings, the study
  found that the financial benefits of sustainable building run
  from $50 to $70 per square foot in a LEED building.
 More than ten times the immediate additional cost that is
  associated with building green.
Social Factors
 Green communities promote sidewalks, town squares, front porches,
  parks, and other public meeting places that encourage socialization.
 The green approach also provides a variety of housing, including
  apartments, townhomes, and single family homes, offering choices for
  all income brackets.
 the buyer has the opportunity to be part of a more-refined
  development and the seller opens the door for more potential buyers.
 Because higher density, green development designs house enough
  people to make mass transit feasible, families that buy homes in these
  neighborhoods may be able to forgo the purchase of a second car
  ("Living," 1993).
 By reducing transportation costs, families can afford to devote a larger
  percentage of their income toward a home mortgage.
 high-density designs translate into the opportunity to own a home
  similar in quality, but lower in cost to finance as compared to
  residences in low- density neighborhoods.
 Unfortunately it is hard to finance because banks and insurance
  companies tend to have a standard pattern that they finance.
Avoided Costs

 the compact, mixed-use design common in green development
  patterns mean less travel by car and significant savings in automobile
 This reduction in automobile emissions, combined with a reduced
  energy requirement for heating in high-density communities can
  reduce air pollution by 45 percent (Real Estate Research Corp., 1974)
 water consumed by watering lawns is reduced by 35 percent under
  green development schemes (Real Estate Research Corp., 1974).
Research done by the Charleston Harbor Project, funded by the National
  Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, began a study that
  compared the water quality impacts of low-density, sprawl as opposed
  to high- density, traditional town development.
 the traditional town scenario performed better than the sprawl
  scenario in all ways
Environmental Benefits and
Avoided Costs
 The volume of runoff from sprawl was 43 percent higher than that from
  the traditional town.
 Nitrogen and phosphorus loadings, as well as chemical oxygen demand
  were higher in sprawl.
 study did not include reductions in the amount of lawn fertilizers and
  motor vehicle use in the traditional town scenario so these results are
  likely to fall even more in favor of the town design.
 Better and cheaper water pollution control.
Government Obstacles
Since World War II, low-density has dominated American residential
  development, institutionalized, in part, by government subsidies and
 The public treasury pays for highway extensions, new interchanges,
  and roads;
 the government guarantees mortgages for single-family housing, but
  not for multi-family or mixed-use development;
 the government also pays farmers not to raise crops in some cases
  priming land for development.
Government Obstacles
At the state and local level, zoning ordinances often preclude green
 North Carolina state law does not require storm water management on
  properties where impervious surface accounts for 30 percent or less of
  the land area being developed.
 This has resulted in large lot subdivisions.
 The goal behind such legislation is to minimize impervious surface,
  but the result is the need for more roads that often make up for any
  savings realized.
 Such forces favoring low-density development are costly for green
  developers to overcome.
Market Response/Property Values
certain if green development is to have a chance, it has to be in demand.
 A 1996 national homebuyer's survey showed that 80% of home buyers
  are attracted to some of the design concepts of Green development, but
  they are not willing to give up cul-de-sacs, big yards, privacy, and other
  traditional design benefits (Harney, n.d.).
 On the project level, developments have had good response to areas
  with “Rain Gardens” to treat storm water run off, and other
  development features such as strategic placement of clustered homes
  around open space.
 Aesthetically landscaped runoff controls can increase property values
  as much as 50 percent by appealing to buyers interested in hiking
  around wetlands and lakes, boating, bird-watching, and more

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