Growing Green Interest Builds, But Costs Constrain Green Initiatives

 While it may be considered socially or politically correct to “go green” when embarking on new construction projects or updating an existing property to  include green roofs, energy-efficient lighting or electric-friendly car ports,  adoption rates remain mixed in New England.  

 “In recent years, the public and the people are more interested in green  building, but development has somewhat languished due to finances because  builders are looking to cut costs in this market—even though better building performance is sacrificed in the long run,” says Ed Hodges, CEO of the Boston-based architectural and planning firm,  DiMella Shaffer.  

 There are developers who are investing in the “green” future, which includes being certified with a Leadership in Energy and  Environmental Design (LEED) designation. Examples of such buildings in Boston  include The Macallen Building and The Clarendon Back Bay. According to Boston  Real Estate Observer, the construction of The Clarendon, which is LEED Silver  certified, used approximately 10 percent recycled materials, and more than 20  percent of the materials used in the building were sourced within 500 miles of  the Back Bay construction site. Green products and solutions used included low  VOC (volatile organic compound) paint, Energy Star appliances, high-efficiency  HVAC units and a landscaped rooftop to reduce heat gain and absorb storm water.  

 “I’ve seen a dramatic increase in energy-saving construction materials including  closed cell spray foam insulation, SIP (Structural Insulated Panels) and Zip  sheathing as well as Superior wall foundations,” says Joanne Carroll, owner of the Guilford, Connecticut-based PR and marketing  consulting firm, JMC Resources, LLC. Founded in 1992, JMC provides marketing  and public relations services to custom and spec builders and developers of  residential communities. “A well-sealed building envelope with proper ventilation allows builders to  downsize heating equipment, while saving energy, although geothermal and solar  are not necessary to build a high performance, green home.”  

 “Some of the green amenities for condos,” says John Thiboutot, CMCA, vice president of The Niles Company in Canton,  Massachusetts, “are geothermal, solar and wind power, as well as higher-efficiency lighting  fixtures, bulbs, heating and cooling equipment. Green roofs, better insulations  and thermo blinds are also some other options.” Other choices include LED lighting, tankless water heaters, recycled flooring  and carpeting, low-E double pane windows, low VOC paint, permeable pavers to  reduce storm water runoff and native landscaping rain gardens.  

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