Are green buildings more expensive?

There is no significant difference in the average costs of green buildings compared to non-green buildings. Many project teams are building green buildings with little or no additional cost, and with budgets well within the cost range of non-green buildings with similar programs. Green buildings are initially more expensive than conventional buildings. However, in the long run, they are more cost-effective, since they have lower operating costs.

Therefore, they are generally a worthwhile investment. This trend is further supported by the growing interest of companies in complying with ESG principles and the general demand of tenants to live and work in green buildings. Green buildings cost 2% more on average, but save between 14 and 19% in operating expenses. For larger green projects, such as the installation of a series of solar panels, there is likely to be a significant increase in costs, but lower energy costs and environmental benefits lead to an impressive return on investment over time.

That's what I pay in advance before I get a construction loan, my own money goes to a design package and a plan that I can then bring to potential tenants, investors or occupying owners to get that building off my balance sheet. The main components of an eco-friendly building are a sustainable air conditioning system, energy-efficient lighting, good insulation, passive design elements that improve efficiency and on-site renewable energy sources. Continuing education through seminars, workshops or conferences will surely facilitate the dissemination of knowledge about the design of green buildings. It's also important to note that, while creating a building that uses sustainable energy can involve a significant initial outlay, it can actually save money in the long run.

But don't just take my word for it, here's some strong evidence that sustainable construction practices are as cost-effective as they are beneficial to the environment. According to the research results, the installation costs of these features can be between 28 and 32% higher than in conventional buildings. For example, the results of the study showed that the design costs of green buildings were 32% higher than those of non-green buildings. However, for me, there's no doubt that, ultimately, costs will be reduced because eco-design shouldn't be more expensive.

Many people still believe that green buildings are significantly more expensive than normal structures, but in reality they are quite the opposite. The higher the sustainability score, the greater the savings in every part of the building's consumption and, therefore, in operating costs. Thanks to recently implemented design changes and technologies, these types of buildings can use resources more efficiently, reduce energy consumption and utilize on-site renewable energy supply. Due to the high demand for sustainable properties and the relatively low supply, green buildings may have higher resale values than conventional buildings.

Lewis Seltzer
Lewis Seltzer

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