The up-front costs of green buildings can often be a scary factor for developers.
Green, particularly in North America, is commonly associated with a higher standard of both architecture and construction, culminating in a building that has a higher value. This higher value comes at a price. It is a price that has been proven to pay off in decreased running fees, but it is a price nonetheless. Adding to this, the higher the LEED value, the higher the costs rise, with a number of LEED platinum developments proving to come with hefty initial price tags.
The flip side of this is the value received for the money spent. Green investment has proven time and time again to pay off in the lower running and higher standard of the buildings.
This reassurance is obviously enough for even the most expert in monetary issues, with PeoplesBank’s new green West Springfield Massachusetts Office recently awarded with a LEED gold rating.
Being only one of two community banks in the entire state, the building truly is a stand-alone development.
Simple design elements that will drastically reduce the building’s reliance on energy include the implementation of cooling roof materials that act to insulate the building and protect if from excess thermal gain, and increased natural lighting which will take pressure off on-grid daytime lighting means. Further aiding this off-grid process is a HVAC climate control system and energy efficient lighting units, a 44 per cent reduction in clean water usage and drought-hardy landscaping.
Environmentally, low VOC interior materials have been incorporated into the office space, which will provide the added bonus of providing safer, healthier office spaces for employees, as well as high efficiency recycling systems (95.7 per cent of demolition and construction waste has been diverted from landfill) and the use of local materials, which add a socially sustainable element to the project.
Due to its significance to the community, as the only town bank, Douglas A. Bowen, president and CEO of PeoplesBank is confident that it will offer a positive incentive for green building, with the bank acting as green community a leader.
“For years, PeoplesBank has been supporting the community in a variety of ways. That’s what community banks do,” says Bowen. “We have taken that thought – supporting the community – and extended it to the environment. The green branch is an office that has been built in an environmentally responsible way.”
While this is a strong community message, perhaps even stronger is the notion that green building is worth the costs and can be a responsible and strong investment. If the banks are taking up the challenge to spend a little more up front, that suggests the investment potential of green building is a sound move.