News / Calgary

Return on Calgary’s LEED Gold investment ‘shocking,’ says Nenshi

Meeting LEED Gold efficiency and design standards in City of Calgary buildings provides a much faster and greater return on investment than initially believed, according to a new report.

"I'm absolutely flabbergasted at the minimal investment to get such a huge return," Ald. John Mar said Tuesday, as a city committee reviewed the numbers.

City staff generated the report in response to a question last year from Ald. Shane Keating, who wanted to know how the city’s requirement for large, new buildings to meet LEED Gold standards compared to meeting the less stringent LEED Silver requirements.

The answer, according to the report, is a benefit-to-cost ratio ranging from 10-to-1 to 12-to-1.

“That is, for every incremental capital dollar invested in a Gold certified building, from $10 to $12 are achieved in triple bottom line (economic, social and environmental) benefits,” the report states.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi was surprised the ratio was that high.

“These numbers are pretty shocking,” he said. “The benefits, particularly in reduced energy costs, were huge.”

Ald. Brian Pincott, however, said he wasn’t surprised by the report’s figures.

“There’s a reason why we actually adopted that standard,” he said. “It’s because in the long term, it saves us money.”