Green Building Community

Studies: High-Performance Buildings Do Not Have to Be More Expensive

YijunW CA, United States 0 Ratings 53 Discussions 0 Group posts

Posted by: YijunW

High-Performance Buildings Do Not Have to Be More Expensive

Despite the rapidly growing recognition and expansion of sustainable initiatives and green buildings, concerns regarding the high upfront cost of green facilities continue due to the lack of quantifiable information (SA Commercial Prop News). There is a widespread belief that green buildings cost much more than traditional buildings (Cole, 2000). The higher perceived construction costs have become a major barrier in deciding whether or not to run a green building project (Weerasinghe, 2017). However, the truth is that the expense of constructing green features has lessened to close to conventional buildings. “There is no cost difference anymore—green has become standard practice,” said Dave Borsos, vice president of capital markets for the National Multifamily Housing Council. Multiple studies back up the claim. 1) A study conducted by Kats (2006) reviews 30 green schools across the United States. It shows that green schools cost more than 2 percent than conventional schools but return gains 20 times more over a 20-year period. 2) Kats, et al., (2008) analyzed 150 recent conventional and green offices and schools globally. The study found that green buildings cost at most four percent more than conventional buildings and most building cost only one to two percent more than traditional buildings that are similar types. 3) Kansal and Kadambari (2010) stated that the initial cost of a green building is higher compared to the initial cost of a conventional building while the operation cost of green building is less. 4) A 2016 South Africa Green Building Council report** found that the average cost premium of green buildings is only higher than conventional construction from 1.1 percent to 5.0 percent. 5) In Seattle, a 2017 study compared projected with actual electricity usage in-home meeting Washington's green certification -- Built Green*. The research showed that certified homes used up to 40 percent less electricity than non-certified counterparts, in some cases making Built Green certified homes twice efficient than predicted. The study revealed that certified homes saved homeowners $500 or more per year in electricity cost, and emitted less than a half-ton of carbon emissions per home. Last but not least, there is a real and impressive case. In June 2018, a newly built net-zero apartment becomes the tallest high-performance apartment building and the first net-zero building that costs less to build than traditional buildings in Utah (Giv Group). Its developer is a nonprofit organization called Giv Group in Salt Lake City, says that the 112-unit apartment building cost $16 million to build. Compare to conventional buildings, the net-zero apartment building saving $565 per unit in mechanical and electrical systems (Erica Evans). Isn’t this green premium low and affordable? * Built Green is a holistic green home certification program of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. ** The study was published by the Green Building Council South Africa, the Association of SA Quantity Surveyors, and the University of Pretoria, To read more, please visit: Seattle Study



Please be kind and respectful!

Please make sure to be respectful of the organizations and companies, and other Rate It Green members that make up our community. We welcome praise and advice and even criticism but all posted content and ratings should be constructive in nature. For guidance on what constitutes suitable content on the Rate It Green site, please refer to the User Agreement and Site Rules.

The opinions, comments, ratings and all content posted by member on the Rate It Green website are the comments and opinions of the individual members who posts them only and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies or policies of Rate It Green. Rate It Green Team Members will monitor posted content for unsuitable content, but we also ask for the participation of community members in helping to keep the site a comfortable and open public forum of ideas. Please email all questions and concerns to