New research conducted by a team from the Sweett Group and BRE has presented costs and savings associated with a range of sustainable building strategies, to challenge misconceptions that sustainable building are more expensive than traditional buildings to construct.
The research involved applying cost data from actual construction projects to three case study buildings, including an office, school and health centre, to produce detailed capital and operational cost information.
The Delivering sustainable buildings: Savings and payback report presents the costs of a range of individual sustainability strategies, with any additional costs of achieving various levels of overall building sustainability. The report also reveals the associated payback to be gained from reduced utility costs.
The research found that achieving the lower BREEAM ratings can incur little or no additional cost. Targeting higher ratings, and so more challenging levels of sustainability, incurs some extra cost but this is typically less than 2%. The investigation of lifecycle operational costs showed that any additional cost can be recouped within two to five years through utility savings.
“This study adds to a growing body of work on the costs and value of sustainability,” says Yetunde Abdul, principal consultant for BREEAM at BRE, one of the report’s authors. “It provides further strong evidence that a sustainable approach need not add significantly to building costs. And, where there are additional capital costs, these can be repaid relatively quickly through the reduced costs of operating the building.”
“This report provides a practical resource to help developers and their project teams target and then deliver buildings that meet high standards of environmental performance,” says Adam Mactavish, operations director – management consulting, for Sweett Group.