Green Building Practices Join with Triple Bottom Line Sustainability

Tue October 29, 2013 - National Edition
CEG


Founded in 1980, PWC is a nonprofit advocacy and support organization dedicated to the advancement of professional, managerial and entrepreneurial women in construction and related industries.
Founded in 1980, PWC is a nonprofit advocacy and support organization dedicated to the advancement of professional, managerial and entrepreneurial women in construction and related industries.

Each month CEG is presenting a blog contributed by members of Professional Women in Construction (PWC). Founded in 1980, PWC is a nonprofit advocacy and support organization dedicated to the advancement of professional, managerial and entrepreneurial women in construction and related industries. PWC has chapters nationwide.

Green building practice is a process encompassing planning, design, construction, operations and end-of-life recycling. Combined with the Triple Bottom Line concept of sustainability, corporations have a new framework to measure performance which incorporates social, environmental and financial considerations or the Three P’s of people, planet and profit. Companies that embrace both concepts create value for all stakeholders.

The question still arises: Do green requirements add to cost? In the long run, though the initial outlay may be greater, for the most part sustainability more than recoups the losses.

Green solutions have proved their value in the marketplace. For example, an apartment community on Boston’s Boylston St. recently completed a green roof installation which cost $112,500. It is now generating an additional $300 to $500 per month in revenue, or about $120,000/year in additional revenue for 25 apartments. J.P Morgan has estimated that the installation increased the value of the property by $2.4 million.

It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention – to rephrase: challenging problems inspire creative solutions. While building codes have regulated conventional construction of buildings emphasizing life and fire-safety concerns for years, only recently have new regulations on energy efficiency and higher performance prompted the creation of the International Green Construction Code. The IGCC website notes that it “is expected to make buildings more efficient, reduce waste, and have a positive impact on health, safety and community welfare.”

Many available state and government incentives significantly contributed to the implementation of green, environmentally safer and energy efficient construction. Green roofs are a prime example of a growing trend: There has been a 24% growth rate in the installation of green roofs in 2012. Most have been installed in Washington DC, followed by Chicago and New York City. Recent studies predict green roofs and green walls will become a $7.7 Billion market by 2017, driven by mandates and available incentives around the globe. Of course, budget concerns will always be prominent, yet costs and benefits must we weighed individually and depend on the scope of work, choice of systems (intensive vs. extensive) and deciding between green roofs, eco roofs or terraces with limited planter vegetation. The possibilities are endless and need to be tailored individually.

A board member of Professional Women in Construction (PWC), Dorothy Wasiak is the chair of PWC’s Mentorship and Continuing Education Committee. She is the vice president of PCGNY Corp., a leading waterproofing, roofing and restoration company in NYC and the tri-state area specializing in commercial, residential and industrial construction.

Portions of this blog previously appeared in New York Real Estate Journal.