economic Value
First Costs

The initial investment associated with the construction or completion of a building or project

First costs associated with a project often become the key drivers for design decisions. Although many think that high-performance design comes with a significant premium in cost, the latest research shows that this need not be true.1 Even a decade ago, the average surcharge for “green” building was only 2%, but that additional investment typically yielded operational savings worth ten times that much.2

Often, smart design actually costs less to build. For example, relying more on natural light and air can reduce the size and expenses of the mechanical and electrical systems. The San Francisco Federal Building saved $11 million in mechanical cooling with a total construction cost of 13.5% below market average.3 The stormwater management system at the Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge campus used planted roofs and vegetated swales to avoid significant earth moving and buried culverts, saving $35 million in construction.4 Higher performance for lower cost.