Recommendation from Client:

"Sometimes access to the vast amounts of information available to us can be overwhelming. One of Jeff's talents is to wade through this sea of information, identify the key ideas and trends, and translate them in a clear and creative way. His understanding of environmental sustainability combined with his diversity of experiences make him a valuable member of any team."

Wendy Smith, Director
WWF Southeast Rivers and Streams Program Nashville, TN

Case Study

Financial and environmental improvements across eight energy- and water-centric real estate development activities

World Wildlife Fund & Cumberland River Compact

Team Leader

Services Offered:
Implementation & Analysis

Green building practices are often touted through labeling programs, such as the USGBC's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). However, there is a void in the market for succinct, quantifiable equations and comparisons of green building practices to normal building practices. This is of high importance, as both need to be "better" for green building than standard building practices in order to foster behavior change in the marketplace.

Our Analysis:
J. Gowdy Consulting was hired to perform the financial and environmental analysis of eight green building practices focusing specifically on water supply, water quality, and energy consumption for the Lawrence Brothers, LLC development at Morgan Park Place in Nashville, TN. The project was funded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Cumberland River Compact's Building Outside the Box (BOB) Project.

J. Gowdy Consulting compared the financial and environmental metrics of the BOB project to standard development practices in the Middle Tennessee region. "Normal practices" were ascertained through dozens of interviews with industrial, governmental, and academic experts. The following eight development practices were analyzed:

  • Irrigation Systems (drip system, rain sensor, moisture sensor)
  • Erosion Control (landscaping, vegetation)
  • Sediment Control (silt fencing)
  • Stormwater Control (rain gardens, gravel pits, pervious pavement)
  • Kitchen Equipment (dishwashers)
  • Laundry Equipment (washing machines)
  • Plumbing (tankless water heaters)
  • Energy Efficient HVAC (higher SEER HVACs)

Our Results:
Our analysis found that the Lawrence Brothers, LLC paid a premium of $77,600 across the eight development practices. Across 40 condos within Morgan Park Place, this equaled a premium of $1,940 per condo owner. However, the eight practices provided cost savings of $400 per year. Therefore, the payback period for the owners was under five years, and the annual cost savings of $400 continued to provide a return on the upfront investment for the owners.

On the environmental side, our analysis found that the eight green business practices yielded water supply savings of 3,000,000 gallons per year. The improvements on water quality were two-fold: zero synthetic fertilizer runoff occurred, and there was an 80-90% reduction in silt particulate runoff.

Visit the Cumberland River Compact website to view the complete report.



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