- Paul Bisanti
Business Development and Consultant, Green Propeller Design
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Green Buildings Don't Have to Cost More
I am often confronted by a client or contractor who refuses to embrace a green project because it will cost too much. I have always disagreed with this viewpoint. The problem with this perception is their opinion has been shaped by poorly executed "green" building design. A building project that has been labeled a ‘pioneer of energy efficiency and sustainable design’ features the latest and greatest technologies; green walls, dual skin facades, massive ground-source heat exchange loops, green roofs, etc. etc. etc.
These buildings probably do have great operational efficiencies, but the problem is the "green" solutions were applied after the design of the building had already been somewhat established. I am a much bigger proponent of load reduction through careful early design.
1. By carefully locating, orienting, and massing the building layout as well as programmatic uses, you set yourself up for a very cost effective green solution.
2. It is critical to establish a well insulated envelope (in most climates) but not to make the envelope completely air tight. Architects need to take advantage of the building's ability to ventilate, heat, and cool itself passively.
These two steps dramatically reduce the peak demand on the HVAC&R systems in a building. A business can save tremendous capital cost by downsizing the most expensive building systems by eliminating the need to adopt the ‘sexy,’ more expensive technologies.