Construction buyers misjudge the costs and benefits of green buildings, creating what a World Business Council for Sustainable Development study contends
Construction buyers misjudge the costs and benefits of green buildings, creating what a World Business Council for Sustainable Development study contends is a major barrier to more energy-efficient design. Respondents to a 1,400-person global survey estimated the additional cost of building green at 17 percent above conventional construction Û more than triple the true cost differential of about 5 percent. At the same time, respondents put greenhouse gas emissions by buildings at 19 percent of world total, against an actual figure of 40 percent.
The findings are disclosed in Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Business Realities and Opportunities, a report on a three-year WBCSD initiative to assess buildings’ environmental impact and identify means of achieving zero-net-energy use in residential and commercial developments. The initiative was co-chaired by Lafarge Group, Paris, and United Technologies Corp., Hartford, Conn., with participation from Cemex S.A.B de C.V., DuPont, Philips and other major companies. The report is available at www.wbcsd.org.
Existing technologies combined with commonsense design can increase energy efficiency by 35 percent and reduce heating costs by 80 percent for the average building in industrialized markets, says Lafarge Chairman Bruno Lafont. Life-cycle analysis shows that 80-85 percent of the total energy consumption and CO2 emissions of a building comes from occupancy through heating, cooling, ventilation, and hot water use. Combining the right envelope materials can greatly reduce a building’s energy requirements, increase its life span and ensure consistent performance.