Everence Financial


What is ‘Green’ Building?

Green building is a rising nation-wide trend.  According to the USGBC, the market value of certified new green building construction was $792 million in 2000.  It took just four years for this figure to multiply nearly ten times.  (Certified new green building construction was valued at $7.73 billion in 2004.)  Experts are projecting significant continued increases in the coming years.

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Construction sites are restored with native prairie grasses that don’t require regular mowing. Clerestory windows bring daylight to the interior and reduce the need for artificial lighting. Filters are placed on air ducts to keep indoor air pure both during and after construction.

Ways to Build Green

  • Take advantage of renewable resources.
  • Use building materials from local sources.
  • Select rapidly renewable and low-impact building materials (recycled metal and VOC insulation that does not emit toxins).
  • Reduce the amount of material going to landfills by recycling during construction.
  • Use sunlight for energy and illumination.
  • Ensure that windows, doors, and walls are well insulated.
  • Use green roofs and rain gardens to reduce rainwater run-off.
  • Use ‘greywater’ (recycled from sources such as dishwashing) for non-potable purposes such as flushing toilets.
  • Pave with pervious concrete to filter and replenish groundwater instead of perpetuating pollution caused by run-off from concrete and asphalt.

Green building is not just good for the environment, it is also good for business.  The USGBC asserts that a $4-per-square-foot investment in green construction will generate approximately $58 per square foot in savings for a building with a 20-year life cycle.

This green construction cost savings comes from several areas:

  • health and productivity ($42 per square foot)
  • operations and maintenance ($8.50 per square foot)
  • energy ($5.80 per square foot)
  • emissions ($1.20 per square foot)
  • water ($0.50 per square foot)