Additional Cost? What Additional Cost?
December 2010 | Research & Analysis
By Edward Mazria, Architecture 2030
Is the cost question a Red Herring? I have been asked many times, “How much will it cost to implement the 2030 Challenge targets?”
My answer is always the same. The question to ask is, “How much will I save if I meet the 2030 Challenge targets?”
Let me explain…
When designing a building, hundreds of decisions and choices will be made. For each decision or choice there are hundreds, maybe thousands of available options, and each option has an associated (and different) cost.
Decisions and choices are made about design – the location of a building on a site, building size, shape, color and orientation, size and location of fenestrations, shading devices, and natural ventilation, heating, cooling and daylighting strategies to name just a few. Design decisions are usually associated with no-cost, low-cost or cost saving options.
Decisions and choices are also made about structure – steel, concrete, wood or metal frame, heavy timber, concrete block, brick, stone, pre-cast concrete or structural insulated panels – and about systems and materials – radiant or forced air heating, exposed or concealed ductwork, lighting systems and fixture types; steel, aluminum, metal clad or wood frame windows with a paint or powder-coat finish, painted gypsum board or thin-coat plaster finish on metal or wood studs; vinyl, rubber or wood wall base; tile, carpet, sheet vinyl or polished concrete floors with integral or applied color; two or three coats of oil or latex paint with a smooth, textured, flat, semi-gloss or high-gloss finish; roofing material, fixtures, caulking, hardware; etc., etc., etc.
Building design is a complex process of trade-offs to meet a specific project budget.
The point is, the only design decisions, choices or trade-off’s that save owners or tenants money every month and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, are ones that ensure a building design meets the 2030 Challenge targets.
Given the latest scientific projections regarding the impacts associated with business-as-usual Building Sector energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, an even more appropriate question to ask might be:
“How much will it cost (in infrastructure, historic and cultural asset losses and human and environmental distress) if we do not meet the 2030 Challenge targets?”
Note: The new 2012 IECC code update (30% better than IECC 2006) will meet the initial 50% energy reduction target of The 2030 Challenge