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The Green Building Bottom Line: The Real Cost of Sustainable Building
By Martin Melaver and Phyllis Mueller
ISBN: 978-0-07-159921-4; 359 pages; $69.95 (McGraw-Hill November 2008)

The Green Building Bottom Line: The Real Cost of Sustainable Building

This book provides a financially based business case study on how doing the right thing for land and community also means doing well as a company, says author Martin Melaver, CEO and vice president of Melaver Inc., Savannah, Ga. Since 1985, Melaver has evolved from a family owned supermarket firm into a real-estate company dealing with property development, acquisition, sales, management and leasing. It is driven by sustainability because the concept fits the core values having to do with community and the land that it is a part of.

“We develop to a minimum of LEED standards in everything we do,” says Melaver. “We avoid greenfield development, focusing our attention on urban- core, largely in-fill projects. Our projects are guided by a set of triple bottom-line metrics that not only call for viable economic returns but also set threshold expectations for maximizing our positive impact on the communities in which we work while maximizing our our impact on the environment.”

According to Melaver, chapters build upon each other as the authors, many of whom are executives from Melaver Inc., build on the advantages of going green. “Taken as a whole, [the book] may be viewed as one extended financial analysis: a discounted cash-flow statement that cumulatively tallies all of the costs our company has expended in the course of becoming a green company and views [of] these costs in the context of the total return on our investment,” he says.

Because Melaver Inc. is a privately held company, not everything is divulged. The authors have created a fictional company called Green Inc., which mirrors Melaver Inc., but is not an exact replica. The revenue and profitability of Green understate those of Melaver, while using its actual costs.


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