What is LEED?

Green building is not a simple development trend; it is an approach to building suited to the demands of its time, whose relevance and importance will only continue to increase. The benefits to green building are manifold, and may be categorized along three fronts: environmental, economic, and social.

Environmental Benefits

Economic Benefits

A common impression about green building is that the green premium is too expensive to be considered economically feasible. However, studies have shown that the costs of green buildings are not substantially higher than regular development projects. 3 Higher construction costs can generally be avoided by the inclusion of green design from the outset of the project. 4 Additionally, green buildings provide an assortment of economic advantages.

Social Benefits

1."Building Momentum: National Trends and Prospects for High-Performance Green Buildings," Prepared for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Environmental and Public Works by the U.S. Green Building Council, November 2002. Available at:
2.The National Association of Homebuilders projects that 20 million tons of debris could be diverted from landfills if only one quarter of the buildings demolished every year were deconstructed. National Association of Home Builders, "Deconstruction: Building Disassembly and Material Salvage," 1998
3.A study comparing the costs of 33 green buildings across the United States to those of same buildings using conventional design found an average cost increase of just under 2% for the green buildings. Kats, Gregory H. "Green Building Costs and Financial Benefits." Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. 2003. Available at:
4.The investment of an additional 3% of project costs in the design phase can reduce construction costs by 10%. Syphers, Geof, et al. "Managing the Cost of Green Building," KEMA, 2003. Available at:
5.Energy and water savings allow an average green premium recovery period of 3-5 years. "Making the Business Case for High Performance Green Building," U.S. Green Building Council, 2003. Available at
6.Investment in energy efficiency and low-priced power at the USAA Realty Company's La Paz Office Plaza in Orange County, CA led to an $0.80-per-square-foor-market value improvement, ultimately a $1.5 million increase in value. "Making the Business Case for High Performance Green Buildings," U.S. Green Building Council, 2003.
7.Lockheed Martin's green facility in Sunnydale, CA utilizes daylighting and sloped ceilings. Managers reported a 15% drop in employee absenteeism, a savings which made up for the building's green premium in the first year alone. "Making the Business Case for High Performance Green Buildings" U.S. Green Building Council, 2003.
8.US Environmental Protection Agency, "Energy Cost and IAQ Performance of Ventilation Systems and Controls," January 2000.
9.Nationally, improvements to indoor environmental conditions are estimated to have generated $20 to $160 billion from workforce productivity gains. Fisk, W.J. "Health and Productivity Gains from Better Indoor Environments and Their Relationship to Building Energy Efficiency," Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, July-August 2002.
10.A survey of 108 outlet stores operated by the same chain retailer found sales 40% higher in stores using skylights instead of electric lighting (generally fluorescents). "Skylighting and Retail Sales: An Investigation into the Relationship Between Daylighting and Human Performance," The Heschong Mahone Group, on behalf of the California Board for Energy Efficiency Third Party Program, 1999.
11.US Environmental Protection Agency, "Indoor Air Quality," January 6, 2003. Available at:
12."Building Momentum: National Trends and Prospects for High-Performance Green Buildings," U.S. Green Building Council, November 2002.
13.A study in Washington found a 15% reduction in student absenteeism at green schools. "Washington High Performance School Buildings: Report to Legislature," Paladino & Company, 2005.
14.A review of 30 green schools across the country concluded that "based on a very substantial data set on productivity and test performance of healthier, more comfortable study and learning environments, a 3-5% improbement in learning ability and test scores in green schools appears reasonable and conservative." Kats, Gregory H. "Greening America's Schools Costs and Benefits," Capital E, 2006. Available at: