...462 LEED-registered buildings, and Connecticut 38 LEED-certified and 232 LEED-registered buildings.

Setting sustainable standards New York City and many other local governments and institutions, such as Columbia University and the School Construction Authority, have set minimum sustainable standards. Developers also have found environmental responsibility a marketing attribute.

Croxton Collaborative Architects designed the Audubon headquarters renovation to make it one of the most energy efficient buildings on Manhattan island.
Photo: Croxton Collaborative Architects.
Croxton Collaborative Architects designed the Audubon headquarters renovation to make it one of the most energy efficient buildings on Manhattan island.

“It becomes quite clear, spending a little bit of capital money in order to recoup it in five years or seven years is money well spent,” Griffith says. “In the long run, that’s smart investment.”

Amann indicates about half of the towns in New Jersey have sought certification through the Sustainable Jersey initiative, which recognizes municipalities that have taken the first steps toward sustainability. The program will direct funding and resources to participating municipalities.

Todd Renz, president of O,R&L Construction in Branford, Conn., and president of the Connecticut Green Building Council, adds that tax incentives for energy efficiency also promote green building. However, he says American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars are not out yet.

Andy Topinka, president of Technical Group Services of Fairfield, N.J., and immediate past chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council New Jersey, agrees, adding that some owners are holding off, waiting to see what government money might be available to finance green projects.

“The single greatest illusion is that it costs significantly more. The concepts of green or sustainable design can be accomplished at or below the benchmark price for building type. There is no green premium.”

Stronger market segments “The markets that are experiencing the least pain right now are health care, institutional and federal, and those markets are more focused on green than other markets,” Sapinsley says.

Tracie Hall, executive director of the U.S. Green Building Council New York Upstate Chapter, also reports an increase in health facilities and universities embracing LEED. She cites the St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, which plans to pursue LEED-Silver certification for its expansion, expected to start in 2011.

Perkins+Will also designed a new 69,000-sq-ft Science Building for Lehman College, the City University of New York in the Bronx. It’s on track for a LEED-Gold certification. Gilbane Building Co. of New York is working on the $68.5 million first phase.

Joseph Porrovecchio, vice chair of the USGBC New Jersey Chapter and capital programs project manager and sustainability coordinator at Ramapo College of New Jersey, reports his institution responded to a student petition with a commitment toward sustainability and a carbon neutrality plan. New and refurbished buildings follow the LEED rating system.

“We see a bottom line advantage trying to manage the escalating cost of energy in a meaningful way,” Porrovecchio says.

Ramapo, he adds, is building a sustainability education center and a spiritual center, both with geothermal...