The Fiscal Power of Taking Green Global
Sara Pepitone -- Interior Design, 10/1/2012 2:00:00 AM
More than three billion square feet of building space worldwide is registered to achieve a green rating. That figure comes from the World Green Building Council, which represents some 20,000 organizations. And it implicates enough concerned professionals to pack a powerful punch.
"The built environment is increasingly recognized as central to human productivity and health, economic prosperity, as well as community development and a nation's ability to provide a high quality of life for all its citizens," says Jane Henley, the council's CEO.
Henley, referring to studies by the United Nations Environment Program and the Natural Resources Defense Council, says investments in building-energy efficiency could generate 3.5 million jobs in Europe and the U.S. And for every $1 million invested in energy efficiency retrofits in the U.S., five direct jobs and five indirect jobs could be created. The same is true in Australia and the U.K.
According to 2012 study The Relationship Between Corporate Sustainability and Firm Financial Performance, owners of green projects reported ROI improved by 19.2% on average for existing building green projects and 9.9% on average for new projects, while operating costs decreased by 13.6% for new construction and 8.5% for existing building projects.
"Up front investment in green technology or features is typically paid back in a few year's time via lower utility bills and energy costs," says Jennifer Easton, LEED Green Associate of the U.S. Green Building Council. "Other data showed that an up front investment of 2% in green building design, on average, results in life cycle savings of 20% of the total construction costs - more than ten times the initial investment."
That's the type of value no one can deny. Here are five of the world's most effective green projects from 2012: