Green Building Consultant Calls New Era "Frugal Green"

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Jerry Yudelson, one of the world's top green building consultants, proclaims that green building professionals can make sustainability pay its own way.

Jerry Yudelson, president of Yudelson Associates

I talk about the many ways design teams are approaching the problem of cost-management on green projects, and the key lesson is that it's all about 'cost transfer' -- taking money out of the unnecessary part of the budget (which usually means over-designed mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems) and putting it into more green features, products and systems.

Jerry Yudelson, a leading green building consultant and author of ten green building books including 2008's "Green Building Through Integrated Design," says he has found a way forward for building professionals as the industry struggles with the need to build sustainably in the midst of a serious recession. Yudelson says designers and contractors can capitalize on the need to maintain existing building budgets while making their green building projects more cost-effective.

"Design and construction professionals can get 'green' done on a conventional budget," declares Yudelson, principal of Yudelson Associates, the leading green building consulting firm. "All they have to do is learn how."

According to Yudelson, clients of all kinds - developers, building owners, universities, local governments - are putting contracts for sustainable or high-performance green buildings into the pipeline without providing the additional dollars for sustainable design measures. The answer for builders? Cost-conscious, integrated design, AKA "frugal green."

"In my most recent book," says Yudelson, "I talk about the many ways design teams are approaching the problem of cost-management on green projects, and the key lesson is that it's all about 'cost transfer' -- taking money out of the unnecessary part of the budget (which usually means over-designed mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems) and putting it into more green features, products and systems."

The second big innovation, according to Yudelson, is to look for all the costs in a project that can be reduced by adopting green building measures. One example: a project team in Boston found out that by reducing water use through specifying water-conserving fixtures, they could reduce the size of the required water meter for a new building, which saved them enough money (from charges by the local water utility) to more than pay for the extra cost of all the efficient toilets, urinals and other fixtures. The bottom line: frugal green offers considerable energy reductions and environmental benefits at no additional cost.

Yudelson's three rules are:
1.    Start with the goal of a LEED Gold project, but do not increase the budget.
2.    Choose a Building Team that is comfortable with integrated design approaches.
3.    Challenge all Building Team members to look at all costs in a holistic fashion and to reduce their costs by five percent, to pay for the higher-level green features.

"The bottom line," says Yudelson, "it's all about challenging the status quo of conventional design that says you can't build high-performance projects on a conventional budget. All my research says you can in fact do this."

"Green Building Through Integrated Design" documents numerous examples of cost-effective green building, and it's up to building design and construction professionals to apply them to their own projects. For more information about Green Building Through Integrated Design by Jerry Yudelson, please visit: http://www.greenbuildconsult.com/site/info/green-building-through-integrated-design/

About Yudelson Associates

Yudelson Associates is a leading international firm in sustainability planning and green building consulting. The founder, Jerry Yudelson, is widely acknowledged as one of the nation's leading experts on green building and green development. He is the author of ten green building books and serves as Research Scholar for Real Estate Sustainability for the International Council of Shopping Centers, a 70,000-member international trade organization. He is a frequent green building speaker at industry and professional conferences and Yudelson chairs the industry's largest annual show, Greenbuild.

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