Building green costs about the same, despite perceptions

Much of the public continues to believe that building green costs far more than it does, according to a recent study.

Some 62 percent of those surveyed indicated there is a "significant premium" to building green, while 42 percent said that premium would tack 10 percent or more to the cost of construction, says "Opening the Door to Green Building," a 24-page study by Shaker Heights, Ohio-based Sustainable Rhythm and the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

"The perception of cost implications remains a difficult one for the market to address," the study said. "While new studies and data are becoming available that illustrate negligible or no premiums to build green, this message is not being communicated."

In fact, the cost for building green -- depending on what level of green is sought -- adds more like 1 percent to 2 percent to a construction project, according to the Urban Green Council. Of course, much depends on the level of LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certification. Loren Aiton, a board member of USGBC Central California Chapter, said it may cost a little more, between 4 percent and 5 percent to meet LEED standards.

Even the increased amount is far less than that perceived by the majority in the survey.