Considerations in going green

Some of the big issues in going green include the following:

Green buildings may be more costly to design and construct

Whilst this perception pervades the industry, recent studies abroad have found that the cost premium for building green is not that significant, particularly when considered in the context of the overall savings on energy and water consumption.

Use of traditional delivery methods in the design and construction of buildings

Green buildings are most effectively delivered by a collaborative approach involving all consultants. This use of charrettes is common in the development of green building design. A charrette is a collaborative session in which a group of designers and experts in all the disciplines relevant to the design and operation of the building work together on the design. The design and construction delivery model may not drive the right behaviours and outcomes, and may come with a substantial cost premium. The alliancing and early contractor involvement models may be more appropriate in this context.

Risk allocation

Consideration should be given as to who should bear the risk and associated costs when a rating is not achieved, and who may be liable for civil penalties if mandatory disclosure requirements are not met.


Whilst variations are universally an area for dispute in building projects, the effect of variations on a green building will be magnified. The contractor may demand limitations on the scope of variations that the principal may direct during design or construction, to those consistent with the desired rating outcomes. Similar restrictions may be required to be imposed on tenants under an agreement for lease and lease.


Upon the introduction of a trading emissions scheme in Australia energy costs may rise to such a level that owners and tenants will demand more energy-efficient buildings. Buildings that are not green may lose value and struggle to attract tenants. The greening of Australia's building stock has been identified by many studies as the cheapest step to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.

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Updated 5 September 2013