Waiting for green build tipping point.

October 2016

The owners and occupiers of green buildings can benefit in a variety of ways, from lower operating costs, better marketability and longer-term tenants, while occupiers tend to report happier, healthier employees, Babbage Consultants senior architect and sustainability manager Michelle Johansson has told the National Business Review:

When people consider “green” in a commercial sense they think of green buildings. However, green buildings remain a niche in the construction industry for several reasons: the fact there are so many buildings going up at the moment; New Zealand’s abundant renewable energy sources mitigating against any real sense of needing to do anything differently; and the perception it’s going to cost more.

Babbage Consultants senior architect and sustainability manager Michelle Johansson says sometimes sustainable buildings do cost more but she concedes it is “because people aren’t used to doing them and the systems used don’t cater to them. So you end up with a cobbled-together hit-and-miss approach where nobody knows where they stand.

“But if you have good systems – as the industry has now in terms of everyday building – that will iron out those issues.”

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Most large companies are already on a path which, at least slowly and incrementally, improves their environmental (and sometimes social) performances. Also encouraging is instances of “green” appear to be outpacing conventional segments in almost every industry. But are companies truly stepping up efforts to address the full range of sustainability impacts, or is it just a few leaders?