Colorado Governor's Energy Office Releases Report on Costs, Benefits of High-Performance Buildings

On June 7, the Governor's Energy Office (GEO) announced the release of a new report to help building owners and design teams better understand the costs and benefits of constructing high-performance, green buildings in Colorado.

"Cost and Benefits of LEED-NC in Colorado" is now available at no cost, on the GEO Web site. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and is the standard for green building rating systems.

This report provides results based on the study of eleven Colorado green building projects certified by the USGBC. From these studies, the report lists strategies and best practices to help owners manage green building projects to ensure the highest level of cost-effectiveness. Additionally, budgeting guidance to use when undertaking a green building project is provided.

"Buildings, next to transportation, are the largest consumers of energy," said Tom Plant, GEO director. "The awareness and demand for green, high-performance buildings is soaring in Colorado. We want to encourage building owners and designers to understand that these energy-saving practices are cost effective and learn how to incorporate them."

This research project and associated report, funded and directed by GEO, tackles questions such as:

  • What is the cost-premium for a high-performance, green building built in Colorado?
  • Is LEED cost effective in Colorado for new construction projects?
  • How much should I budget for a green building?
  • Of the four LEED-NC (new construction) certification levels available, do certain levels cost more than others to obtain?
  • What are the factors that make some green building projects cost less than others?

GEO provides support to help Colorado's state and local governments initiate this process to build better buildings through its commercial building program. Last year,"Using LEED-NC in Colorado," was released, which is also available on the GEO Web site, For information on LEED, a registered trademark of the U.S. Green Building Council, visit

This article originally appeared in the 06/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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