SERF Aims to Make Green Building Certification Simple

05/10/13- Article by Solar Works Atlanta: SERF Aims to Make Green Building Certification Simple

Can Governments Really Afford LEED?

There seems a refreshing change in the air questioning municipal, state and federal agency mandates to LEED certify new structures under their purview.

No one finding their way here will question the environmental and social good–even a social demand–for building green by our public sector.  But in the midst of budget crises resulting in spending cuts at every level of government, the high cost of obtaining LEED certification (some 10 times higher than SERF, often more) is beginning to raise fiscal eyebrows.

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Paying (and paying) for the LEED Label

As mentioned in past blogs, the burdensome cost of LEED certification–measured in both time and money–lies in  consultant fees and documentation.  A very reliable study commissioned by the US General Services Administration (GSA) proves the point.

The GSA is an independent federal agency responsible for the construction, operation, and maintenance of federal facilities, including courthouses, office buildings, land ports of entry, and research facilities.

GSA commissioned this report to identify the incremental cost of LEED certification for two buildings: A new mid-rise federal Courthouse and a mid-rise federal office building modernization. The report analyzed both the incremental construction costs as well as soft costs–i.e. LEED-based documentation and consultation fees.

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It seems like we’re on to something…

When our small group of real estate owners and professionals founded SERF a little over a year ago, none of us expected that we would be accepted so quickly and broadly.   Already we have SERF certified facilities in 10 states!

Perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised.  After all, each one of us independently came to the belief that the USGBC’s phenomonal success in bringing sustainability in to the public consciousness through its LEED certification would be enhanced by a certification which is more streamlined, user-friendly and cost-effective.

After all, to endure, sustainability must be affordable.

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