Green Buildings Don’t Have to Cost More

May 7, 2014


In the ever-evolving world of architecture, there’s a prevailing misconception that “green” buildings equate to inflated costs. However, let’s focus on what truly matters—the bigger picture. But let’s break it down: Are you looking at the short-term costs or the long-term benefits? Is it better to pay less upfront or save money on energy over the building’s life? As architects, it’s our duty to help you understand these considerations and underscore the invaluable, long-term gains for those who choose the path of eco-conscious construction.

An upfront investment of only 2 per cent in green building design, on average, can result in life cycle savings of 20 per cent of the total construction costs – more than ten times the initial investment, according to The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Buildings: A Report to California’s Sustainable Building Task Force in 2003.

However, the allure of green buildings stretches beyond cost considerations. These spaces tend to provide occupants with a superior indoor environment, an attribute acknowledged within the LEED rating system itself. Measures such as employing materials emitting low indoor pollutants, offering personalized thermal and lighting control, as well as leveraging natural light and picturesque views, directly enhance occupants’ experiences, bolster staff retention, and nurture well-being. This, in turn, translates to amplified employee productivity—crucial since salaries often account for the bulk of business expenses.

For those exploring leased spaces, green buildings stand out with lower vacancy rates and a capacity to command higher rents. Not to mention, with available tax incentives promoting energy conservation, an array of avenues awaits those seeking to trim construction budgets.

So, if you’re thinking about building or renovating an existing building, ask your architect about the green options. It used to be all about saving the environment, but now it’s just smart (and saves money) to make sure your building saves as much energy as possible. This way, you’ll be helping your budget and making your building last longer too.