SOURCE: Air Quality Sciences, Inc.

August 24, 2005 13:00 ET

New AQS Report Knocks Down Economic Stumbling Blocks to Green Building

ATLANTA, GA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 24, 2005 -- A new report from Air Quality Sciences, entitled "If You Build It Green, They Will Come," provides convincing evidence that building green is not as cost prohibitive as critics claim.

"Although sustainable (green) building is catching on across the US, questions about higher first costs and lower return on investment remain a stumbling block for many developers, designers, building owners and facility managers," said Anthony G. Worthan, MPH, AQS president and chief operating officer.

"The bottom line is first costs associated with green building are significantly lower (0 to 3%) than previously reported (10% to 25%). Clearly, green building is affordable. The economic outlook gets even better if improvements in people's comfort and productivity are taken into account and green building goals are incorporated as early as possible into the design process," he said.

Based on a review of major economic studies of buildings designed and constructed to meet LEED Green Building Rating System™ requirements, this report addresses the issues most on the minds of those who may have an interest in developing, designing and constructing green buildings, but up to this point have been hesitant.

In addition to concerns about higher first costs and lower returns on investment, the report also takes a look at building commissioning and building flush out, two important strategies for creating healthy indoor environments.

"Many view building commissioning as an optional step that has no economic benefit. If planned and implemented properly, commissioning is an effective way to verify that the planning, design, construction and operation of the building are achieving set goals," Mr. Worthan said.

The studies reviewed found that depending on the size of the project, commissioning costs may range from 0.3% to 4.0% of construction costs. Energy savings (up to 10%) can more than make up for these costs. Commissioning also can realize savings by significantly reducing or even eliminating costly change orders, reducing requests for cost information, ensuring proper system/component selection, improving building systems performance and reducing call backs, the report said.

Flushing out a building with 100% outdoor air for a period of time prior to a building being occupied is an effective way to remove indoor air contaminants, such as volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, particulates and fungi to name a few examples. While the ideal is to continually flush out a building during construction, it may not be practical for some projects. In these cases, a sound green building practice is to reduce the flush out time to two weeks at the end of the project, the report said.

"The energy costs associated with a two-week flush-out period using 100 percent outside air vary based on building size and ventilation method, but usually run about $0.13 per square foot," said Mr. Worthan.

Other cost-effective strategies noted in the report include:

--  Selecting and using low-emitting materials, such as those certified by
    the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute, which can minimize the need and
    potentially shorten the time needed for flushing out the building
--  Sampling and analysis of indoor air as a part of the commissioning
    process to confirm low levels of indoor contaminants, which often can be
    done for less than the energy costs of flushing out the building
    
"Taking these steps not only results in savings, but being able to compress the construction schedule at the very end of a project can be invaluable added benefit, especially when time is tight and the owner or tenants are anxious to occupy the new or renovated facility," he said.

With the green building trend gaining momentum, those who still have questions or doubt its economic value will benefit from reading this report. It also can help those who are committed to green building make convincing arguments by reducing their time to research these important issues. The report features a bibliography of the studies reviewed.

"If You Build It Green, They Will Come," is available free of charge from the Aerias-AQS IAQ Resource Center website, under Premium Content.

Air Quality Sciences, Inc. is a fully integrated indoor air quality (IAQ) company that provides solutions to create healthy indoor environments and avoid potentially dangerous indoor pollution. As the only IAQ firm with internal labs that are both ISO 9001:2000 registered and AIHA EMLAP accredited, AQS sets the standard for effective diagnoses and solutions. AQS also is a test laboratory for both the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute and the Blue Angel Labeling programs, which provide independent, third party certification for low-emitting products used indoors. To learn more about AQS, Blue Angel and GREENGUARD, visit www.aqs.com, www.blauer-engel.de or www.greenguard.org, respectively. To learn more about indoor air quality, visit Aerias-AQS IAQ Resource Center at www.aerias.org.

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