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Sustainability

Economy has slowed LEED certification pursuit

June 16, 2010
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HONOLULU, HI — The gap between the number of Hawaii projects that actually have been able to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and the number of projects that is seeking the building industry''s coveted "green" label is widening as some businesses have been deterred by slow returns on investment, according to the Pacific Business News.
To date, 159 projects in Hawaii are registered for LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, but only 15 commercial and residential buildings in Hawaii have met the strict standards for achieving LEED designation, the article stated.
Local industry experts attribute the unbalanced ratio mainly to the upfront costs associated with certification, which some say are so expensive it can take decades to realize the cost savings, the article added.
Charles Kaneshiro, a principal with the Honolulu architecture firm Group 70 International, said some of the tough standards aimed at improving the environment can take 30 years to be paid back through energy savings on electric bills.
According to the article, the expense is a common concern not only in Hawaii, but across the nation, with more advocates saying that constructing buildings for LEED certification is a sound business decision for long-term property owners who can realize the savings over time.
Despite trickling returns on investment, a number of Hawaii companies, in both the public and private sector, are still making the upfront investment to go green, the article noted.
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