A progressive tax abatement offered by the City of Cincinnati for using LEED construction techniques is paying off and making Cincinnati a national leader in green building. Two Cincinnati-based businesses - Green Building Consulting and Homes+ - have seen the fruits of this progress directly.
President and owner of both Green Building Consulting and Homes +, Barb Yankie, says that her companies have seen sales double in each of the last four years even while the building industry has dropped.
With the recent green building boom, the projects need to meet certain specifications laid out and need a third-party firm like Homes+ to come in and perform the audits, testing and inspections to ensure compliance. Green Building Consulting comes in and does the construction, document preparation, and any training necessary for subcontractors.
"We are the first company in the Cincinnati-area, and until last year we were only a one person company," said Yankie. Now there are five full-time employees and a much larger team that works together on a project by project basis.
Much of the work Yankie's companies are doing is residential work which really began about three and a half years ago when LEED for Homes
got started. In Ohio there have been 42 homes built to these standards, with Green Building Consulting and Homes+ doing all but two of them. All 40 of those projects occurred in Cincinnati, and Yankie believes that it is no coincidence given the tax abatement program here.
There are currently about 1,000 professionals in the United States that can perform these audits, and if energy audit requirements were to go national then another 1,000 would be needed at the very least. As a result, Yankie sees a bright future for an already booming industry.
"Right now there are seven states that mandate an energy audit at the time of sale with seventeen more considering it. It's just a matter of time before it goes national and there are not enough people out there to do the work," said Yankie.
Writer: Randy A. SimesPhotography by Scott Beseler
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