Friday, July 30, 2010

LEEDS designation may give bragging rights but costs TOO much!!

You might want to go to the Commission meeting next Tuesday 8/3.

Next year’s budget will be presented.  And, there will be a discussion about whether to initiate a utility fee, essentially a tax on electricity, gas, and other utilities. Almost everyone else in Broward County has the fee so Deerfield Beach’s staff says we should also. (Let's see, how does that go, I hear my mother's voice, "If everyone jumps off a bridge would you jump also").  I want to hear what the commission says about this.

And, there will be a discussion on whether the new pier project should be LEEDs certified. I think using “green” materials is wonderful, but going for the LEEDS certification is too expensive. I’m all for green, but skip the actual certification process it is not worth an additional $100,000.

Green is an expensive designation
By Melody Hanatani

"We do not seek LEED certification for new construction because it's expensive," Joan Ling, the executive director of CCSM, said last week during an interview about a series of new construction projects the developer is undertaking. "

…But there are a series of other developments in the city that were built with a whole slate of sustainable features in mind, which together could qualify them for certification.

The reason why the developers didn't go for the designation could be the money.

John Zinner, a locally-based LEED project manager, estimates that the soft costs of going for certification could range roughly from $40,000 to $200,000, depending on the size of the project.

"We're talking just the design process, not the hard cost," Zinner, a former city planning commissioner who worked on the Sustainable City Plan, said.

Established in 1998, LEED has grown as a benchmark for acceptable environmental design, an industry standard for which projects are considered sustainable in offsetting impacts caused from construction and operations.

The Green Building Certification Institute, which manages the LEED program for the U.S. Green Building Council, charges developers a fee to register their project and get the process started, which costs $450 for members and $600 for non-members.

Then there's the certification fee that comes after the application and supporting documents are filed, which is all based on the size of the project and square footage, ranging from $1,750 to $17,500 for members to $2,250 to $22,500 for non-members.

Applicants are also required to hire a commissioning agent who checks to be sure the project is operating properly. The price of the agent's service depends on the project size, but generally start at about $15,000, said Brenden McEneaney, the green building program adviser for City Hall.

Then there are the extras, including a consultant, which is not required, to help navigate the applicant through what can be a time-consuming and complicated process to achieve certification, including filing and tracking all of the paperwork.

"You need someone who understands how the system works," Zinner said. "There are a lot of people out there who have studied the system."

Ling estimated that going for LEED certification could add about $100,000 to a project.”
I rest my case.

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