How green buildings can bridge the gap between capex and opex in the long run, ET RealEstate

September 25, 2023

BY: Bhupesh Arora, Digital Energy Division, Schneider Electric India

Green building is the practice of constructing or modifying structures to be environmentally responsible, sustainable and resource-efficient throughout their life cycle. This includes efficiently using energy, water and other natural resources, protecting occupant health, improving employee productivity and reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation.

Buildings are responsible for 37% of global CO2 emissions and, due to its variety and complexity, there is a need for a broad variety of strategies and efforts to digitize, decarbonize and ultimately bring our built environment closer to net zero.

The benefits of building green include cost savings from reduced energy, water, and waste; lower operations and maintenance costs; and enhanced occupant productivity and health. The total financial benefits of green buildings are over ten times the average initial investment required to design and construct a green building.

When we look into the breakdown of CO2 from buildings, 30% of carbon emissions come from construction materials and inefficiencies, while 70% comes from fossil fuels, lack of renewables, low use of electric energy and inefficient operations. Contrary to that, green buildings are energy efficient as they are built out of passive designs, green and cooler roofs, energy-efficient lightings, efficient HVAC systems, elevator systems among other design elements.

Upfront investment in green buildings also makes properties more valuable, with a growing number of building owners seeing 10% of greater increase in asset value. These buildings also reduce the day-to-day costs year-over-year. Green buildings have reported a 20% lower maintenance cost than typical commercial buildings and green building retrofits typically decrease operation costs by almost 10 percent in just one year.

Green Buildings are the key to cutting energy costs

One of the greatest benefits of green buildings is their maintenance and cost, featuring specially engineered design elements to lower energy consumption and help reduce energy cost and water bills. These efficient structures can save corporate and residential owners a bundle. Although the expense required for building owners to build such structures may be initially higher than traditional non-green forms of architecture, the cost over the long term is recovered exponentially.

Further, developing structures that derive their energy from natural sources is beneficial for the environment as they help in protecting the eco-system and in conservation of non-renewable resources. It might seem that green building is more expensive than traditional building, but it is often not true. In fact, many green building techniques and materials can actually save money in the long run, through energy savings, reduced maintenance costs, improved health and productivity of the building’s occupants.

They also tend to be much more durable and long-lasting than traditional buildings, due to the use of high-quality sustainable materials and eco-friendly construction methods. This not only helps reduce the overall environmental impact of the building, but it also saves money in the long run by reducing the need for costly repairs, maintenance and renovations.

Green buildings are a crucial piece of an evolving energy puzzle that is enabling us to accelerate decarbonisation globally. Success really depends on a mixture of decarbonisation – which facilitates a transition to behaviours that improve energy efficiency – and energy management strategies that are unique to the operations. Being an industry leader in this domain, Schneider Electric works with industrial enterprises worldwide to help them digitalize and decarbonize their operations.

Green building is an important step towards reducing the environmental impact of the construction and real estate industry. By using sustainable materials, incorporating energy and water efficiency, healthy indoor environments, and implementing sustainable site development practices, we can create buildings that are better for the environment and better for communities. With increasing awareness and demand for eco-friendly construction, it’s an opportunity for builders and developers to innovate and create sustainable, resilient and efficient living spaces.


  • Published On Sep 25, 2023 at 03:30 PM IST

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