Green Building Costs and Trends

A study was recently undertaken to reveal current costs and trends in the green building industry in South Africa by the GBCSA, the Association of South African
Quantity Surveyors and the University of Pretoria. By May 2016 a total of 180 buildings had been certified by the GBCSA and more than 7000 professionals had enrolled in GBCSA training courses. The main factor hindering the further growth of the green building industry, both locally and internationally, is the perception that green building comes with a significant cost premium compared to the cost of non-green or conventional buildings. South Africa had no data to prove otherwise until this study was conducted.

The study sampled 54 certified office buildings across South Africa to track trends related to:

  1. Green building penetration – the extent to which the Green Star SA Office rating tool has introduced green design into the different elements of a project, expressed as a percentage of total project cost
  2. The green cost premium – the additional cost of green building over and above the cost of conventional construction, expressed as a percentage of the total cost of the project.

Some noteworthy results which stemmed from this study included:

  • The average green building cost premium achieved was 5% of the total project cost, where a correlation was noted between the green cost premium and the certification level
  • The application of the Office v1 tool resulted in the introduction of green design elements accounting to an average portion of 42.7% of the budgets of projects from the sample
  • The categories of Energy and Indoor Environmental Quality carried the highest percentage of the green cost premium.

The green building industry is growing exponentially in South Africa and with this growth we can expect the green cost premium of buildings to diminish over time as the industry matures and becomes even more common place than it is today in 2016.

See the whole study conducted by GBCSA and its collaborative partners here.