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By: Marge Fahey - Tuesday, December 6, 2005
Source: ULI

WASHINGTON (November 2005)—Building green is not only socially responsible but also good for the bottom line, according to a new book from the Urban Land Institute.

Green Office Buildings: A Practical Guide to Development spells out the financial benefits of green buildings in terms of both capital costs and operating costs. It dispels the myth that green buildings cost more and provides profiles of 15 projects around the world where green buildings have proved successful and profitable.

In addition to the cost savings, green buildings also have benefits in environmentally responsible land planning and design. These include the promotion, maintenance and restoration of native vegetation, stormwater management, erosion control, water conservation, open space, climate mitigation and wind control, landscaped roofs and recycled materials.

"It provides a step-by-step guide to land planning, designing, constructing and managing green buildings, says David Gottfried, founder of the U.S. and World Green Building Councils.

The book dispels the myth that green buildings cost more than standard office buildings by providing cost data on 40 U.S. buildings comparing costs if built as green versus conventional. An initial premium for green buildings average 2 percent, but data shows that green buildings provide a long-term (20-year) savings of $50 to $65 per square foot.

Other benefits of green buildings include reduced energy requirements and emissions, lower operating and maintenance costs, and an increase in worker productivity and health.

The book makes the case for an integrated approach early in the design process. "Many green design strategies rely on the developer's and the design and construction team's early brainstorming and goal setting. Otherwise opportunities may be lost."

Green Office Buildings provides analysis of financing, leasing and investment considerations and outlines a number of state and local initiatives supporting green
building. For example, "33 states and a number of local jurisdictions have enacted legislation promoting the installation and use of solar and other alternative energy systems, according to information compiled by the database of state Incentives for Renewable Energy."

Green policies and programs of the federal government are detailed along with examples of green building projects, and a comprehensive listing of green building resources, including key government policies and programs.

The following projects were included in the book's analysis:

• Alvento Parque Empresarial, Madrid, Spain
• Bank One Corporate Center, Chicago
• Capital Area East End Complex, Block 225 Office Building, Sacramento
• The Conde Nast Building, Four Times Square, New York
• Eastgate, Harare, Zimbabwe
• Ford Motor Company PAG, Irvine, California
• Gewerbehof Prisma, Nuremberg, Germany
• Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center, Portland, Oregon
• JohnsonDiversey Worldwide Headquarters, Sturtevant, Wisconsin
• Philip Merrill Environmental Center, Annapolis, Maryland
• PNC Firstside Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
• 30 St. Mary Axe, Swiss Reinsurance Co., London
• Toyota Motor Sales, South Campus, Torrance, California
• Tuthill Corporate Center, Burr Ridge, Illinois
• University of Texas School of Nursing and Student Community Center, Houston

About the book: Green Office Buildings: A Practical Guide to Development (Urban Land Institute, 2005, ISBN: 978 0 87420 937 2) is available at bookstores,, or Copies are available to the press by calling 202-624-7187.

For more information, contact Marge Fahey at 202-624-7187 or

The Urban Land Institute ( is a nonprofit education and research institute founded in 1936 and based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to provide responsible leadership in the use of land in order to enhance the total environment.

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