Faced with the extraordinary challenges presented by climate change, natural resource depletion and ecosystem collapse, the global building industry is in the midst of an unprecedented reality check. Buildings worldwide are collectively responsible for the consumption of nearly 40% of all primary energy consumption, 67% of all electricity, 40% of all raw materials and 14% of all potable water supplies as well as for 35% of global CO2 emissions and 40% of all municipal solid waste.
In terms of their many benefits, green buildings stand shoulders above conventional buildings.
- Significantly reduced amounts of air pollutants/green house gas emissions, solid waste and waste water
- Enhanced and protected natural habitat and biodiversity
- Conservation of natural resources
Health and Community Benefits
- Improved indoor air quality, thermal and acoustic comfort
- Enhanced occupant comfort, health and well-being
- Fewer pollutants released into local water, soil and air and reduced loads on municipal infrastructure
- Contribution to improved quality of life through locating work places with easy access to residential areas and social infrastructure such as schools and health-care and public transport
Economic Benefits (percentages are approximate figures)
- Green Buildings are cheaper to operate and considerably cheaper compared to traditional buildings IF MEASURED using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) costing. Examples include:
- 25% more energy efficient = large energy cost savings.
- 30% more water efficient = large water supply cost savings.
- Reduced life-cycle operation and maintenance costs due to higher quality, better controls, better monitoring and optimized performance.
- Increased net operating profit (e.g. 3% premium on average lease rate) and property asset value (e.g. 10% premium on sales value) which can result in lower financing and insurance rates.
- Lower worker absenteeism and a 1-16% increase in occupant satisfaction and productivity, which can result in major cost savings.
- Great for PR, faster lease-ups, higher tenant retention rates.
- Directly responsible for a rapidly growing global green building materials market forecast to grow 5% annually from USD 455 billion in 2008 to USD 571 billion in 2013. By 2013, a majority of the world’s largest construction firms project that 60% of all their contracts will be for green buildings.
- Healthier buildings generally mean healthier employees which can translate into lower liability and lower insurance premiums.
- Easier, less costly compliance with anticipated legislation on carbon emissions restrictions.
- Steady decline of first-costs. Most green buildings are only 0 to 4% more expensive than conventional ones and within the near future, green building will be the least expensive way to build. For now, any additional first-costs can be amortized over a building’s lifetime and are usually recovered in 3-5 years in operational cost savings alone.
- “Future proof” — investors are increasing viewing non-green buildings as a measurable risk and liability