Not building green? Some people buy into the misconception that high-performance buildings cost more money to construct. Others misunderstand the disconnect between capital costs and operating costs. However, by understanding “value,” and making smart judgments, the cost difference between conventional buildings and green buildings can be nominal; even cost next to nothing to implement.
While some myths and misconceptions have slowed the widespread acceptance of green building, we are here to not only illustrate why green initiatives don’t have to cost more (both initially and over the lifespan of the building) but also provide proactive strategies that can help you balance your budget when going green.
Green Doesn’t Have to Cost More
Despite the growing attention to sustainable practices, energy-efficient technology, and green products in today’s building landscape, skewed perceptions of cost and a lack of quantifiable information have prevented the large-scale adoption of high-performance facilities. On top of strict budgets, there’s a disconnect between capital costs and operating costs. While many building owners are aware that a 40% ROI can result from investing in a high performing facility, obstacles emerge when they forget to link their annual operating budget. In other words, they believe they don’t have room to implement green plans because their year-to-year budgets align with conventional materials and components.
But does going green truly cost more? Over the past few years, experts have analyzed the long and short-term costs of building green. Their goal? To show prospective industries and homeowners that by rethinking their construction budgets and finances, they can achieve ultimate value in green facilities.
When looking at costs and savings, builders must look at the whole picture. Take for instance 4. Studies show that energy savings alone exceed the average increased costs associated with building green. And as far as increased costs go, recent data also proves that the average cost increase is slightly less than 2% of the initial budget.
How can builders capitalize on these cost savings? By taking a holistic approach to their builds.
Holistic Design is the Gateway
The key to success with building green lies in the builder’s approach towards implementing green initiatives. Whether you want to add sustainable features to a current building or design a high-performing home from scratch, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to going green. Every building should be acknowledged as unique when weighing both the feasibility and cost of green design and construction.
Further, it’s much more cost-effective if the green elements of the build are addressed from the start, rather than piecemeal. It’s not only inefficient to spontaneously add green features mid-build but can also put a significant dent in your budget. To optimize your finances, everyone involved in the project must commit a whole-home approach from the get-go. Before committing to anything, clients and contractors should always evaluate and discuss the maximum green features that can be included in the design while remaining within the budget.
A 2016 report stated that on average, green buildings are 14% less costly to operate than traditional buildings. While a bulk of these cost savings come from energy savings, builders who integrate green initiatives from top to bottom are more likely to achieve maximum savings. What’s more, buildings that also take into account design for productivity and human efficiency will see savings in other ways. Aside from cost-savings, sustainable designs can benefit the livelihood of people who live and work within environmentally-forward buildings.
How? Features such as increased ventilation control, temperature control, lighting control and daylighting are all positively correlated with enhanced productivity and comfort for occupants. Indoor air quality also succors the health of people in homes, workplaces, and educational facilities alike.
By emphasizing value judgments, rather than hard dollars and cents, green buildings have emerged as attractive, affordable options to building owners and families. In lieu of traditional, “to-code” projects, high-performance buildings have proved a worthy investment, especially as today’s energy pricing increases.
Environmental preservation, cost savings, occupancy wellness; sustainable buildings are emerging as an invaluable trend. Why? As technology advances and environmental concerns continue to raise attention, the truth is: the risks of conventional design are increasing.
For those with a tight-budget, sustainable design is more achievable than ever. That’s the bottom line. Going green doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive. The key towards success is in the approach. By taking a holistic approach from the onset and implementing green initiatives across the project spectrum (rather than adding piecemeal green components or materials as the mood strikes), clients can see lower initial project costs than expected and significant savings over the lifespan of the building.
Think beyond recycled carpeting or triple-paned windows. Consider connecting with Belman Homes for your next project. Experienced with green home design, implementing sustainable features, and premier custom home building — you can rest easy when you partner with Belman Homes for your next project, knowing that only the best suppliers and contractors will be on your team.