There’s a nifty little story in today’s Oregonian about the trend towards "green classrooms" that can save school districts money—not just because of lower energy costs (which is what you might expect) but because they’re actually cheaper to build. According to one physical plant director in charge of a relatively new energy-efficient school: "[W]e thought the building, with all its energy-efficient features, would cost a lot more to build. But it didn’t. It was about $120 per square foot, which was among the lowest cost for a high school at the time."
In some ways, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The Rocky Mountain Institute has talked for years about how super-efficient buildings can often be less expensive than ordinary ones, due to lower costs for heating and ventilation systems and light installation. But it’s good to see some concrete examples to show that those sorts of savings are possible in practice, not just in theory.