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Report Shows Cost Benefits of Green Buildings Including Increased Productivity of Employees

Shattering the old myth that green buildings cost too much to construct and expenses are never fully recouped, the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has published a report highlighting just the opposite.

Image courtesy of arabianindustry.com.

The report explores the benefits of green building construction through looking at aspects of the industry including: design and construction costs, the perception gap, operating costs, green retrofits, asset value, and workplace productivity.

Jane Henley, CEO of WorldGBC, said in an overview of the report that, “Today, green buildings can be delivered at a price comparable to (or cheaper than) conventional buildings, and investments can be recouped through operational cost savings,” and with the right design features, can create more productive workplaces.

Most of the costs in the report related to architectural design and consultant fees, as well as construction costs, referring to building structures, not site acquisition.

Actual cost premiums have been taken from a wide variety of building types, including: offices, homes, schools, warehouses, banks, supermarkets, health centers, community facilities, academic buildings, and public buildings.

The report showed that increases in upfront costs have been found to be proportional to the increased level of environmental certification, with more aspiring projects, such as those that aim for ‘zero carbon’ performance, showing a 12.5 percent increase in design and construction costs compared to a conventional building.

But for the majority of green buildings, the cost typically ranged from less than zero percent to four percent higher based on studies published within the last ten years.

In addition, the report found that higher levels of certification (such as BREEAM Very Good, LEED Silver/Gold, and Green Mark Gold/Gold Plus) were shown to range from zero percent to 10 percent higher cost, while the highest levels of BREEAM Excellent, LEED Platinum, Green Mark Platinum, and ‘zero carbon’ ranged from two percent to 12.5 percent higher cost.

The report also suggests a number of ways to reduce the construction costs of green buildings, including hiring an experienced design and construction team and using an integrated design process, which goes from the pre-design phase through post-occupancy. This involves adopting green strategies and including them in the budget from an early stage to avoid more expensive bolt-on strategies.

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