With today’s continuously developing awareness for our environment, there is an increasing interest in the construction of ecologically friendly buildings. The green building strategy was initiated with the intention of changing various methods of construction and using processes that are environmentally sustainable throughout the whole of the building’s life-cycle, including elements such as planning and demolition.
Over the past decade, the global demand for green ecologically efficient building structures has grown immensely. An international survey of the sector carried out across five continents suggests that the trend is set to continue as the survey that included over 2,000 architects, engineers, contractors, owners and investors from 86 countries showed that green building is expected to account for the majority of the pipeline for construction across global markets.
Recently, there has been an acknowledgment of the effects of the manufacturing, design, construction and operation of the buildings that we use. These constructions are responsible for the consumption of many of our natural resources, having a negative effect on our environment.
According to research conducted by UK Green Building Council (UK GBC), 59% of the UK’s total waste output is from construction, demolition and excavation and a study by Dodge Data & Analytics (DDA) on behalf of a variety of building groups, including the world Green Building Council, showed that almost half of respondents expect at least 60 percent of their projects to be ‘green’ by 2021.
The development of green building has grown vastly over the past decade and is set to double over the approaching years.
This recent advancement is considered a revelation for the general perception of green building, as its growth in popularity is revealing that the cost of green building is not as expensive as it seems. Much like any other form of construction, elements of green building can cost more than others, for example, vegetated roofs or renewable energy can cost more as they are additional features that have a great beneficial impact on the environment. Comparably, any other non-green building procedure has options that could cost extra.
DDA’s industry insight research director, Donna Laquidara-Carr, found that the consistent business benefits received since 2012 have driven the enthusiasm for green building and retrofitting.
Donna stated, “These benefits include eight percent operating cost savings in the first year and increased building asset values of seven percent for new green buildings, which are clearly influencing all those who do green building to deepen their engagement with green.”
The social benefits circulating around the green building sector have created an enjoyable working environment, with occupant health, well-being and increased worker productivity being a top priority for companies. This has created a sense of community and supporting domestic economies.
CEO of the World Green Building Council, Terri Wills, said the survey showed green building was increasingly seen as a key business benefit. “Additionally, around the world, green building is considered to have an impact beyond significant environmental benefits, such as increased employee productivity and satisfaction.”
As for ‘Green Mortgages’, in 2017, the UK Government released a Clean Growth Strategy in an attempt to incentivise people to opt for more energy-efficient properties, with some banks already offering the potential of more favourable factors, such as lower interest rates. As green buildings are lowering energy usage, arguably, the owners should be receiving lower bills making it less likely for defaults in mortgage payments as their disposable outcome should be seemingly larger.
An American study showed that owners of energy-efficient homes are 32% less likely to default on their mortgage payments. While this research provides useful insight, data was only gathered from owner-occupied homes in the U.S. and in England, the buy-to-let market is soaring. This is a factor that would most likely alter the results as it is the tenants, not the landlord themselves who benefit from reduced energy bills, meaning that the relation between reduced energy bills and mortgage defaults would be irrelevant in such cases.
As we are progressing into this ecologically stable future, there is still research needed to determine the logistics of the financial effects. However, it is important to evaluate each sector of the industry and consider the environmental impact that the construction process and waste is having on the planet and what measures can be taken to reduce or prevent it.