Undertaking a green sustainable fit out is not more expensive – a changing mindset

Can We Afford Not to Go Green?

Global Sustainable Development Challenges

In an increasingly interdependent world, environmental challenges are on the agenda of all nations, whether highly developed or still developing. These challenges include climate change, loss of biodiversity, over-use of natural resources, and rising pollution levels. Environmental issues are intimately connected to economic development and sustainability. This connection has been recognised by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). There are many international agreements focusing on carbon emission reduction, including the Kyoto Agreement and the Paris Accord. However, the sense of crisis continues to grow. More people than ever are paying attention to environmental news and trying to modify their own behaviours to help the environment. More businesses are also playing their part with environmental sustainability and CSR becoming an important part of their strategies and performance metrics.

Does A Green, Sustainable Fit Out Cost More?

While environmental concerns are getting more news coverage than ever before, there is still some resistance to adopting comprehensive sustainability frameworks, particularly among some business owners. The rationale is that while the environment is important, implementing wide-range changes in the ways we live, consume, build and work is too expensive and too complicated. There is a commonly held assumption that sustainable office design or green fit out costs more than using traditional building materials and methods. This perception is one of the main obstacles to the adoption of more sustainable office design and fit out.

Are green buildings more expensive? The answer to this question is not as clear-cut as some would like. Sustainable office design and fit out may require additional work and sourcing different materials. For instance, some premium green materials are not yet available locally. But this does not mean that the overall costs of sustainable fit out are more expensive than “conventional” fit out.  According to the David Langdon study: “Even though there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the cost question, it is clear from the substantial weight of evidence in the marketplace that reasonable levels of sustainable design can be incorporated into most building types at little or no additional cost.”[1]

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[1] https://newbuildings.org/sites/default/files/WhatDoesGreenCost_Morris_2007.pdf

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