The cost of green building is lower than traditional building period. For example, design the building envelope with decent solar shading immediately (and forever) reduces the space cooling load, therefore the building needs a smaller chiller. But that is only half the story, along with a smaller chiller, all the associated distribution equipment including the air handing units, air moving equipment, piping, cooling towers, circulating pumps, switchgear, and cables are also smaller, and less expensive. This is a critical point often overlooked using integrated design – minimise the load, drive the need for small equipment, it is not only cheaper, but uses less space.
There is good news from Good Energies that found evidence from 146 green buildings in USA that the additional cost for green building was only 2% not 17%. However, whether or not these buildings used integrated design principles mentioned above was not reported.
Additionally there is still no cost category to account of the “soft” benefits of building green. How customers have you lost because you don’t have green building? People have already discounted your building (or your product) because it’s does not have a green label, and is not energy efficient, and I guarantee they didn’t stop by to tell you where you went wrong.
I believe, finally, the market is beginning to understand the future, oil and gas is finite resource will not last forever, and the energy position of operating costs are inevitably rising.
After your staff costs, energy represents the largest proportion of the operating budget for buildings. In Hong Kong buildings are voracious, consuming 86% of all the electricity generated, and 33% of all electricity generated is used to power air conditioning systems.
Let’s face it, incremental improvement is pointless, single digit savings will barely stave off inflationary pressures – Use the integrated principals to save your CAPex today and your OPex tomorrow.