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GEN 44

Economics of Sustainable Building

Caroline J Mackley
Senior Cost Planner – Sustainable Development, Bov

This note discusses the economics of sustainable design and development strategies, as it relates to built facilities in Australia. Particular focus is given to commercial office buildings.

The impetus behind this note is to provide some quantitative reality to the general industry perceptions that green a) costs us more; and b) has to been 'seen' in order to qualify as green.  These two prevailing ideologies are in a sense, a justifiable industry defence to maintaining the status quo.  The property industry is an immensely desegregated one that arises largely to manage perceived risk (Hawken, 2000; Mackley, 2000; Sorrell, 2001; Bordass, 2000).  This makes change all the more difficult and unlikely.  The infancy of the sustainable development movement is matched by its lack of quantitative capability, which provides a convenient excuse for the rejection of initiatives on projects, due to perceived risk.

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