Last edited 22 Sep 2018

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Delivering sustainable buildings: Savings and payback FB 63

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Delivering sustainable buildings: Savings and payback (FB 63) was written by Yetunde Abdul and Richard Quartermaine and published by BRE in August 2014. BRE (Building Research Establishment) is an independent, research-based consultancy, testing and training organisation, operating in the built environment and associated industries.

Research by Sweett Group and BRE has challenged the perception that sustainable buildings are more costly to build. Detailed capital and operational cost information was been obtained by applying cost data from real construction projects to three case studies (an office, a secondary school and a community healthcare centre).

The project investigated the capital costs of design and construction strategies that enhance building sustainability and help to achieve BREEAM ratings. They include low-cost or no-cost actions that can be used to enhance building sustainability, and those initiatives that must be built into the project at the concept stage to minimise their costs.

The research team also examined the life-cycle costs of operating buildings, focusing on energy and water consumption. They found that specifying sustainability measures during the building’s design and procurement stage can result in cost savings over the operational life of the building for little or no additional upfront cost.

The effect on capital costs of achieving varying levels of sustainability was calculated, including the costs associated with gaining Pass, Good, Very Good and Excellent BREEAM ratings outlined. Achieving lower BREEAM ratings can incur little or no additional costs. Targeting the higher BREEAM ratings incurs some additional cost but this is typically less than 2%. The study of operational costs shows that this can be paid back within 2–5 years through utility savings.

This project adds to a growing body of evidence on the costs and value of sustainability and supports the findings that:

The contents of the 52 page report are:

  • Executive summary.
  • Introduction.
  • Our approach.
  • Case study 1: Office.
  • Case study 2: Secondary school.
  • Case study 3: Community healthcare centre.
  • Discussion.
  • Appendix A: Capital and life cycle modelling and assumptions.
  • Appendix B: Assessment timeline.
  • References and further reading.
  • Glossary.

--BRE Group

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