Making the Business Case for Building Green

Making the Business Case for Building Green

What financial incentives are available for green buildings and developments?

While the cost differentials for green building are continuing to shrink (see "More on the Cost of Green: Why Green Building is Good Business" and "How to Offset the Cost of Building Green"), the transition to any new technology often needs a boost.

"[M]any state and local programs are emerging to provide direct benefits to projects that obtain LEED certification" according to architect Malcolm Wells. "These incentives can take the form of grants, tax credits, expedited permitting processes or exemption from specific zoning restrictions... [as well as] … financial incentives, awards and streamlined permitting process."

The American Institute of CPAs published -- in May 2005 -- a table summarizing state level tax incentives for green buildings. Thirty-five states offer financial incentives for green building; Property Tax incentives were the most common, offered by 24 of the states, with Income Tax, Corporate Tax and Sales Tax incentives offered by 10, 13, and 12 states, respectively. We haven't been able to locate a comprehensive list of city and county-level programs, but we know they're out there.

The U.S. Green Building Council, iBuild, and GreenClips are a few of the green building resources worth tracking. But a quicker path may be to ask your local government about they're current or envisioned green building programs. If they don't have any yet, you might ask them "why not?"

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Gil Friend, systems ecologist and business strategist, is president and CEO of Natural Logic, Inc. -- offering advisory services and tools that help companies and communities prosper by embedding the laws of nature at the heart of enterprise. Sign up online to receive his monthly column via email. Read Gil's blog here.