Studies Quantify Results of Low-Impact, Green Developments

These articles from KnowlegePlex underscore the fact that green housing is affordable now and over the long-term.

Minnesota public and private entities have produced the state’s first cost-comparison of low-impact development, reported Finance & Commerce. Emmons and Olivier Resources, Inc., an Oakdale, Minn., based environmental consulting firm, describes LID as an “innovative, ecosystem-based approach to land development and stormwater management” that preserves natural resources while allowing development, the article said. The consulting firm partnered with Dakota County, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and others to study how a LID-designed community stacked up against a conventionally designed development on such measures as construction costs, 30-year maintenance costs, and water quality impacts. The study found that LID “was cheaper to build, cheaper to maintain, and more profitable,” the article said. However, existing zoning laws, stormwater management regulations and other barriers inhibit LID, the report said. To access the executive summary and other components, click here.

Some low-income housing developers haven’t joined the green building bandwagon due in part to concerns over costs or veering from organizational missions, sources told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. A study of 16 green affordable housing projects last year found that the projects, on average, cost 2.4 percent more to build, the article said. The study, by New Ecology Inc., of Cambridge, Mass.; and the Boston-based Tellus Institute, also found that developers of nine of the 16 projects wouldn’t recoup their extra costs without a subsidy for using green building practices. However, occupants of the units would save, on average, $12,637 in utility costs over the life of their home, the study said. Evaluating costs and benefits are part of the green building trainings sponsored by Enterprise Community Partners and the U.S. Green Building Council. By producing economic and health benefits for low-income people, green building aligns with the mission of low-income housing development, said an Enterprise official.

Crunching the Numbers on Low-Impact Development in Minnesota
05/09/2007 | Finance & Commerce (Minneapolis, MN)

More Low-Income Housing Being Built Green
05/05/2007 | THE SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER