A recent report by The Building Research Establishment (BRE) and building consultancy firm the Sweett Group claims to prove that building a sustainable building is not expensive.

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BRE and Sweett Group collected and processed cost data from three case study projects to produce detailed information on the construction costs. They called this report Delivering Sustainable Buildings: Savings and Payback.

The report presents the actual costs of a range of sustainable strategies including energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling in each of the three case studies. It then reveals the associated paybacks that are delivered through reduced energy costs.

The researchers analysed this in relation to BREEAM Standards which consist of Excellent, Very Good, Good and Pass. It was found that achieving the lower BREEAM Standards involves little to no additional costs whereas achieving the higher BREEAM Standards involves a small cost of less than 2%. The study showed that because of energy savings, it could be paid back within 2 to 5 years. The project provided evidence that more sustainable buildings are not expensive and also showed that energy efficiency system costs are falling.

One of the reports authors from BRE, Yetunde Abdul, said: “This study adds to a growing body of work on the costs and value of 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 cost of operating the building.”