Despite popular notions to the contrary, it does not cost more to build an environmentally conscious facility than a traditional building, according to a recent report by Davis Langdon, a San Francisco-based consulting business that helps architects and building owners manage construction costs.
Green building, however, does require a different mind-set, advised Langdon. Sustainable features are too often tacked onto a project as an afterthought, making them appear as an added cost that can be easily cut.
“Until design teams understand that green design is not additive, it will be difficult to overcome the notion that green costs more, especially in an era of rapid cost escalation,” according to the Davis Langdon report, “Cost of Green Revisited,” which studied 221 new construction projects.
The report found no significant difference in the average costs for green buildings and non-green buildings. Green buildings were defined as those in which the primary goal was to achieve environmental certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
“Many project teams are building green buildings with little or no added cost, and with budgets well within the cost range of non-green buildings with similar programs,” the report said.
Costs varied widely for both green and non-green structures, indicating that there can be both low-cost and high-cost buildings in each category.
Most of the buildings surveyed were able to achieve green certification without any additional funding, while some required additional funding for specific sustainable features, such as solar panels.