The Economic Benefits of Green Building in Colorado: Case Studies and Statistics

Green building practices have been gaining popularity in Colorado for their environmental benefits, but they also offer significant economic benefits. 

Green building practices in Colorado are cost-effective for several reasons:

  1. Energy savings: Green buildings are designed to be energy-efficient, which means they use less energy for heating, cooling, and lighting. This results in lower energy bills for building owners and tenants, leading to significant cost savings over time.
  2. Water savings: Green buildings are also designed to conserve water, which is particularly important in Colorado where water is a scarce resource. By using water-efficient fixtures and landscaping practices, green buildings can reduce water consumption and lower water bills.
  3. Improved indoor air quality: Green buildings are designed to promote better indoor air quality, which can lead to improved health and productivity for occupants. This can result in lower healthcare costs and increased productivity, which are both economic benefits.
  4. Increased property values: Green buildings often have higher property values than traditional buildings, as they are considered to be more desirable and sustainable. This can result in higher rental or resale prices, leading to increased revenue for building owners.
  5. Government incentives! In Colorado, green building projects can benefit from several government incentives, including those provided by the Inflation Reduction Act. These incentives include the 179D tax deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings, the 45L tax credit for energy-efficient single-family or multifamily properties, and the 25C tax credit for energy-efficient home improvements. These incentives can help offset the upfront costs of green building practices, making them more cost-effective in the long run. Additionally, they can provide significant tax savings for building owners and developers, further increasing the economic benefits of green building in Colorado. 

Green building practices in Colorado offer a range of economic benefits, including cost savings from energy and water efficiency, increased property values, improved indoor air quality, and government incentives. These benefits make green building a smart and cost-effective choice for builders, developers, and building owners in Colorado.

Not to mention that green buildings benefit the environment in several ways. They are designed to be energy-efficient, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps combat climate change. 

They also conserve water and promote sustainable landscaping practices, which help preserve water resources and protect natural habitats. Green buildings are often constructed with environmentally friendly materials and promote recycling and waste reduction, which reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills. Overall, green buildings help reduce the negative impact of human activity on the environment, making them a critical component of sustainable development.

Let’s explore a few case studies in Denver and Fort Collins that demonstrate the economic benefits of green building in Colorado.

Green Building in Colorado Case Study 1: Denver Housing Authority’s Mariposa Redevelopment Project

Green Building in Colorado: Denver Housing Authority's Mariposa Redevelopment Project
Mariposa Redevelopment Project, Denver, CO

The Mariposa Redevelopment Project is a master-planned development that includes transit-oriented mixed-income housing, senior housing, retail spaces, and outdoor areas such as playgrounds and gardens. Key drivers of the project were planetary health, ecosystem health, and sustainability.

In terms of planetary health, Mariposa incorporates integrated district-level energy strategies that aim to conserve resources and generate renewable energy on-site. The buildings are designed with high-performance envelopes and adhere to ENERGY STAR building standards. 

Additionally, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems reduce energy consumption by 40%, benefiting residents and the Denver Housing Authority.

To further promote sustainability, the Mariposa project’s two-megawatt photovoltaic solar panel system may offset up to 80% of the projected energy needs, significantly reducing reliance on non-renewable energy sources.

Regarding ecosystem health, the project prioritizes accessibility to public transportation and aims to improve pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. The goals are to reduce reliance on personal vehicles and encourage active modes of transportation.

Mariposa is a sustainable development that prioritizes planetary and ecosystem health. By implementing energy-efficient technologies and promoting alternative modes of transportation, it aims to create a green and environmentally friendly community for its residents.

Case Study 2: Colorado State University’s LEED Platinum Buildings

Green Building in Colorado: CSU's LEED Platinum buildings
The Pavilion at Laurel Village, Colorado State University

Colorado State University (CSU) is committed to sustainable building practices, as evidenced by CSU’s LEED Platinum Buildings. These buildings showcase CSU’s dedication to creating environmentally friendly structures prioritizing energy efficiency, water conservation, and indoor air quality.

One of CSU’s notable LEED Platinum buildings is the Laurel Village Pavilion. This building has achieved the highest level of LEED certification and is a shining example of sustainable design. 

Another LEED Gold building at CSU is the Laurel Village Piñon Hall, demonstrating the university’s commitment to environmentally responsible construction.

Summit Hall has made history at CSU by becoming the first building to achieve LEED certification for existing buildings and operation maintenance. Certification was earned from eco-friendly practices, including the purchase of e-clothes to reduce chemical usage in cleaning, a green purchasing policy, and green cleaning training for staff. 

Summit is powered by on-site and off-site renewable energy, and aerators reduce water consumption. Sustainable transportation is also encouraged with bicycle parking and alternative transportation options.

Laurel Village Alpine Hall is another LEED Gold building that showcases CSU’s sustainable building practices. This facility combines modern design with eco-friendly elements to create a space that promotes sustainability.

And the Durrell Center, another LEED Gold building at CSU, further reinforces the university’s commitment to green building practices. With its energy-efficient systems and sustainable materials, this building embodies CSU’s dedication to reducing its environmental impact.

These LEED-certified buildings bring numerous benefits to CSU and its community. By implementing green building practices, CSU achieves reduced energy and water usage, improved indoor air quality, and a smaller carbon footprint. Moreover, these sustainable buildings contribute to significant economic advantages, such as lower operating costs and increased property value.

CSU’s focus on sustainable building practices is evident through its LEED Platinum and Gold Buildings. These structures not only provide functional spaces but also prioritize environmental responsibility and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Case Study 3: Townhomes on Vine, Fort Collins

Green Building in Colorado: A picture of Townhomes on Vine in Fort Collins, CO
Townhomes on Vine, Fort Collins

We played an instrumental role in the development of the Townhomes on Vine project in Fort Collins, Colorado. The scope of work included LEED for Homes credit verification, testing during construction and QAD review, energy efficiency recommendations, building material assessments, and review of construction documents, specifications, and project submittals.

Despite the challenges presented by the unfamiliarity of the project team with the program requirements, our staff was able to coach the contractor through the required inspections, and by the end of construction, the LEED requirements were integrated into their procedures. Green Insight also introduced the project team to our Project Insight™ online platform for documenting compliance with all the LEED prerequisites and credits. This made the process of achieving LEED Gold certification more streamlined and efficient.

The Townhomes on Vine project serves as a testament to the effectiveness of our guidance in integrating green building practices cost-effectively and efficiently into green multi-unit construction projects. Our involvement was crucial in ensuring that the development met the rigorous standards required for LEED certification.

Our involvement in Townhomes on Vine was instrumental in achieving LEED Gold certification. We also helped streamline the certification process and ensure that the development met the rigorous standards required for LEED certification. 

The success of the project serves as a shining example of how to successfully build sustainable communities that benefit both the environment and the people who live in them.

Economic Benefits of Green Building in Colorado

Green building practices including proper insulation and air-sealing will increase year-round comfort, reduce energy consumption, and keep the Colorado climate at bay, but they contribute so much more. Green building practices in the state offer significant economic benefits in addition to their positive impact on the environment. 

From the Mariposa Redevelopment Project in Denver to the LEED Platinum buildings at Colorado State University and Townhomes on Vine in Fort Collins, our case studies demonstrate the cost savings associated with green multifamily and green home construction in the state.

Sustainable building practices are not only good for the environment but also profitable, cost-effective, and good for the economy. And statistics show that green building practices have created jobs in Colorado and throughout the U.S. 

By prioritizing people’s health and well-being through the use of eco-friendly materials, improved air quality, and energy-efficient systems, green homes and multi-unit green buildings are becoming increasingly popular. 

With the state of Colorado offering a range of incentives and rebates for green building practices, builders and developers can create sustainable and economically viable buildings that benefit both the environment and the local economy.

Want to find the perfect solution for your green building project?

If so, contact us today. We would love to discuss your project and your goals while showing you how Green Insight can help you achieve green building success. Get in touch

Border Patrol’s Presidio Housing Development Earns LEED for Homes Gold Certification

Presidio, Texas is a town steeped in history. Established in the 17th century but settled as early as 1500 B.C. Presidio is now home to just under 4,000 people.

This colorful and historic section of Texas lies right on the Rio Grande River, just across the border from Ojinaga, Mexico, and boasts some of the darkest skies in Texas making it a dream for stargazers. While along the river, it is considered desert land as part of the Chihuahuan Desert in West Texas.

The Project

Because of its proximity to the Mexican border, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is a large employer in the area. However, due to the smallness of the town of Presidio, housing those border protection officers and their families is a challenge.

Green Insight was brought in to consult on ways to keep design and construction both green and functional on a solution to the housing shortage: a housing project funded by the federal government consisting of 26 single-family attached homes and one single-family detached home for U.S. Border Patrol employees.

Working with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol design team and W.H. Pacific contractors, we were able to come up with unique solutions to their housing issues while keeping the project green and sustainable.

Project Challenges

The biggest challenge facing the project was a logistical one. While it can boast the darkest skies and best star watching in West Texas, its remote location doesn’t help when it comes to coordinating all the moving parts of a building project.

Located 8 hours by car from our offices, coordinating the construction team with our consulting duties required substantial planning to keep the project on schedule and within budget.

Additionally, the arid desert climate posed its fair share of challenges. Part of our work together was ensuring interior comfort and adequate yet responsible water usage.

Solutions

To properly coordinate schedules with all parties, strong communication was an absolute must. That meant clear communication prior to our site visits to give crews ample time to make sure everything was ready for all inspections along the way and that all-important final inspection. We also needed to coordinate efforts to ensure all units were complete and ready for final testing.

Our meticulous attention to coordinating all parties paid off. Green Insight was able to successfully certify all 27 homes with a higher status than their original goal of Silver certification.

To combat the environmental challenges, the project utilized a stout building envelope with roof assembly insulation over R40 and walls of R22. These factors help ensure both occupant comfort in the units as well as energy efficiency.

Contractors were also able to strategically plan their planting choices to create landscaping that was both suited for the dry desert heat and didn’t require a lot of water usage.

Results

Through Green Insight’s collaboration with both U.S. Border and Customs Patrol and W.H. Pacific contractors, the Presidio Border Patrol housing development earned:

After completion, the Presidio housing development became a model in sustainability as a piece of the 27 acre site that features both housing and landscaped common spaces.

Looking for a stress-free path to your green building project? The Green Insight team will help you find the best solution.

Get in touch with us todayWe’ll discuss your project and goals while showing you how we can help you achieve green building success!