New research out of London challenges the perception that sustainable buildings are more costly to construct. To support their findings, researchers present the actual costs and savings associated with a wide range of sustainable building strategies, writes

The research team from Sweett Group and BRE applied cost data from real construction projects to three case study buildings – an office, secondary school and community healthcare center – to produce detailed capital and operational cost information.

Their report, “Delivering sustainable buildings: Savings and payback,” presents the actual costs of a range of individual sustainability strategies, and the additional costs (if any) of achieving various levels of overall building sustainability. In addition, it reveals the associated payback to be gained from reduced utility costs. The study investigated the:

• capital costs of measures to improve sustainability, including readily usable no or low cost measures, along with those that must be built into the project early on to minimize their costs,

• capital costs of achieving overall levels of building sustainability, using the costs associated with gaining Pass, Good, Very Good and Excellent ratings under commonly used sustainability rating scheme,

• life cycle costs of operating buildings, focusing on energy and water consumption – the study found that specifying sustainability measures during the design and procurement stages can bring cost savings without adding significantly, or at all, to upfront costs.

The researchers concluded that achieving the lower sustainability ratings can incur little or no additional cost.

Targeting the higher ratings, and so more challenging levels of sustainability, incurs some additional cost but this is typically less than 2 percent. The investigation of life cycle operational costs showed that any additional cost can be paid back within 2–5 years through utility savings.

For more information on this report and to read the original article, click here.