Although LEED certification pays off in the long run, many developers are hesitant to go that route because of the initial costs. Ashley Katz, communications manager at the U.S. Green Building Council in Washington, D.C., says building owners pay up to 2% more to meet LEED standards in a new building, but receive a 20% higher return on investment over the life of the building. "LEED saves you about 35% in water costs and 15% in power costs. The break-even point is three to five years, so it does mount up very quickly," says Jack Rector, a LEED-certified engineer at Colliers International.

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