Monday, September 27, 2010

Green Buildings and Retrofitting - Helping the economy and the environment

With energy use in buildings making up a large amount of worldwide CO2 emissions (some 40-45% in the USA for example) it's no secret that making new buildings Green and Green retrofitting provides a clear path to combating climate change.

The benefits of such activities are obvious, using less energy and water means lower bills, less waste and less exposure to rising prices without even considering the environmental benefits. While there are productivity and physiological advantages of, for example: buildings schools that don't fry in the heat in a state like QLD.

Of course the question that everyone asks about Green buildings is: Won't it cost a lot more?

Well according to Gregory Kats and his new book Greening our built world the answer is NO.

Working with ~100 "architects, developers, green building consultants, and building owners" Greg and his team surveyed 170 Green buildings from schools to laboratories, residential complexes to offices and found:

Green buildings—designed to use fewer resources and to support the health of their inhabitants—are commonly viewed as more expensive to build than conventional buildings. For example, a 2007 opinion survey by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development found that, on average, green buildings were thought to cost 17% more than conventional buildings. But we found this widespread perception—that greening costs a lot more than conventional design—to be wrong. In fact, the green 170 buildings analyzed for Greening our Built World cost, on average, less than 2% more than conventional buildings; moreover, green buildings provide a wide range of benefits—both direct and indirect—that make them a very good investment.

So not only do Green buildings not cost much more, but because they create large energy savings that pay back multiple times over there are a good investment too.

More info and plenty of graphs can be found here.

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