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Affordable Housing , Community Development

The Savings in Green Building

7 January 2013

I’m often asked, “Isn’t green building too expensive for affordable housing?”

Actually, green building costs less over a building’s life than does conventional construction and/or rehabilitation. We can’t afford not to use the latest research and analytical tools to insure that we are investing in efficient healthy housing that will serve its users and its community long into the future.

Examples of green building elements include the following:

  • Efficient: There are many ways to build more efficiently. Green buildings are designed to reduce or eliminate construction waste. Advanced framing techniques use less lumber resulting in cost savings and more space for insulation.  Building tight building envelopes and correctly sizing efficient mechanical systems saves energy. Siting structures to take advantage of passive solar heating and natural ventilation is also effective.
  • Healthy: Selecting toxin free construction materials and maintenance techniques along with proper ventilation improves resident health. Developing walkable communities with opportunities for recreation is also important.
  • Resilient: Building-to-last reduces operating costs and increases the useful life of housing. Savings can include reducing maintenance, storm damage and deterioration.

HUD’s Green Academy is coming to Hartford from January 14-18th. This is an opportunity to contribute to the conversation about green building.

Click here to read previous blogs. 

Kathleen Dorgan, principal of Dorgan Architecture & Planning in Storrs, Conn., and an adjunct member of the faculty at Roger Williams University, is a practitioner of comprehensive sustainable community development. She is also a presenter at U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s Green Academy scheduled for next week in Hartford.