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Life Cycle Costs vs. Upfront Costs?

WA | Posted in General Questions on

Can you direct me to any good information on showing how over the lifetime of a building … sustainable design will save the owner money. We are working with a church congregation who believe that a sustainable building fits their values, however in order to move forward they would like to see real numbers/data on how the higher initial investment will benefit them in the long run.

Thank you for your time!

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  1. Riversong | | #1

    There is no generic information which would be useful to you. You need to sit down and do the calculations for specific improvements on this specific project, for either payback period or annual return on investment, or present cost of lifetime savings. Such calculations are relevant, however, primarily to energy-conservation options, since operating costs are the main element of potential savings over time. In addition, building sustainably means creating a more durable structure and reducing life-time maintenance costs.

    But, if this is a church which believes that sustainability is consistent with their values, then none of that should be the deciding factor. Encourage them to put their money where their values are. In other words, to be willing to pay more to support the non-economic values of protecting Creation, serving the community, and enhancing life for future generations.

    They should also consider the "externalities", or unaccounted economic costs of NOT being sustainable, such as the loss of the "free" services that Nature grants us, including filtering of air and water, maintenance of a livable climate, and the biodiversity which gives us nourishment and healing - both physical and spiritual.

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