Is Green Building Affordable?

Pathway Design and Construction joins the Green Home Tour this year as an Ally sponsor. Owner Paul Kocharhook has his own YouTube channel dedicated to explaining green building concepts, so we asked what questions he hears the most. Here’s what we learned:

1) What is Green Building?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, building green starts with increasing the efficiency with which buildings and their sites use and harvest energy, water, and materials. In addition, green buildings help protect and restore human health and the environment. To be truly green, a building must meet the above requirements throughout its entire lifecycle, from construction to operation to renovation and finally deconstruction.

2) Is it affordable?

Contrary to popular belief, green buildings may not always cost more and can provide economic benefits to individuals. Cost savings are most likely to be fully realized when incorporated at the project's conceptual design phase with the assistance of an integrated team of building professionals. The integrated systems approach aims to design the building as one system rather than a collection of potentially disconnected systems. (EPA.Gov)

3) What are the economic benefits of green or sustainable building and development?

Green buildings can have many benefits, including durability, reduced utility costs, improved occupant health and productivity, and happier occupants. A green building may cost more up front but can be more cost-effective in the long run.

4) Can I get a tax break for building green?

There are some federal tax credits for specific energy-efficiency projects in buildings. More and more states are beginning to introduce and pass legislation establishing green building tax benefits, including Washington. More info about tax breaks is available at

5) What are the top 3 benefits of building green?

Environmental: Buildings are major consumers of energy, which impacts not only fuel consumption, but also atmospheric pollution and global warming. Saving energy and using energy wisely is often thought of as one of the single major elements of exploring sustainable design.

Health: humans spend upwards of ninety percent of their lives indoors. Indoor environmental quality plays a major role on occupant health, business productivity, learning, and an overall sense of wellbeing.

Increased property value: As a superior product, a green building can yield increased value to the owner.  In addition to the payback efficiency measures provide over time, a "green" designation can also increase a building's market value as assessed by appraisers and investors.

For more from Paul, check out his YouTube Channel.