New research carried out by the BRE challenges perception on cost of sustainable buildings


The costs associated to the development of energy efficient, sustainable buildings is only marginally higher than those involved in normal buildings, while the long-term benefits and costs savings far outweigh the initial investment, researchers from the Sweett Group and the BRE were able to demonstrate.

As part of the research project, the team applied cost data from real construction projects to three case study buildings – an office, secondary school and community healthcare centre – to produce detailed capital and operational cost information.

The study investigated the capital costs of measures to improve sustainability,life cycle costs of operating buildings, focusing on energy and water consumption – the study found that specifying sustainability measures during the design and procurement stages can bring cost savings without adding significantly, or at all, to upfront costs.

The researchers concluded that achieving the lower BREEAM ratings can incur little or no additional cost. Targeting the higher BREEAM ratings, and so more challenging levels of sustainability, incurs some additional cost but this is typically less than 2%.

Last, but certainly not least, the investigation of life cycle operational costs showed that any additional cost can be paid back within 2–5 years through utility savings.

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