Delivering sustainable buildings under the BREEAM rating scheme does not always have to “add significantly” to building costs, new research has shown.
The new report from UK-GBC members BRE and the Sweett Group challenges the commonly held view that sustainable buildings are more costly to construct.
It found that while building to the most challenging levels of sustainability under BREEAM may incur some additional costs, typically less than 2 per cent – these can be paid back within two to five years through energy and water bill savings.
Achieving the lower BREEAM ratings can incur little or no additional cost, the report added.
Yetunde Abdul, Non Domestic Business Group Manager at BRE and one of the report’s authors, said: “This study adds to a growing body of work on the costs and value of sustainability. It provides further strong evidence that a sustainable approach need not add significantly to building costs. And, where there are additional capital costs, these can be repaid relatively quickly through the reduced costs of operating the building.”
The researchers 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.