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Traditional vs Sustainable Building Study
2

Traditional vs Sustainable Building Study

Traditional vs Sustainable Building Study

(OP)
Hello everyone!

I am doing a study for my final degree work on whether it is worth the construction of a sustainable building compared to a traditional one.

I think that in economic terms, nowadays, it is cheaper to build a traditional building than a sustainable one. Sustainable buildings require a lot of technology and expensive materials. But I am interested in knowing your opinion and knowledge about whether in the long term a sustainable building is more profitable or if, on the contrary, the traditional one is better. All this taking into account all the costs during its useful life.

Thanks for your cooperation.

RE: Traditional vs Sustainable Building Study

There's two main categories you should be considering when thinking about this topic.

First off is embodied carbon impacts, which is the fundamental carbon impact of the construction process (material quantity, transportation impacts, production process, etc.). It varies greatly depending on the parameters of different projects, but you can gain a lot of efficiency by optimizing your structural system, material choice and structural design. Beyond that, there are certainly more expensive technologies that start to go above and beyond, but I'm not super familiar with the cost comparisons of more niche products so I'll leave that to the rest of the crowd.

Operational carbon relates more to the sustainability of the building during its occupied life, which is primarily associated with the performance of the MEP systems. Often, the more efficient mechanical systems cost more up front, and are marketed to pay themselves off in the long run by performing efficiently, reducing the building's energy bill and operational carbon. Again, not an expert on the specifics so I'll cede further details to those who know more about this.

One note is that many places are starting to incentivize green building through tax credit-type of kickbacks to owners who include certain green building features into their project, and this will likely become more and more mandatory, especially in urban areas. Hope this gives you a start!

RE: Traditional vs Sustainable Building Study

A lot depends on the local climate and the energy costs, current and future. In many places a properly built sustainable house is more comfortable and lower energy cost than traditional. Look into "net zero buildings".

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