Be frugal, be green!


We seem to have created a culture where it is perceived that you can only really be green if you have spent more than you would have if you haven’t been green. 

A common question we get asked – How much more does it cost to build a 6 Green Star office building compared to a 5 Green Star building? Depends, but usually about 5% more in construction costs. 

And then when a developer or contractor is focusing on cost savings it is usually met with an off hand comment that they are targeting making money rather than being green! 

So the common misconception is that frugal and green can’t co-exist. 

It’s not true. 

Yes operational energy reduction is important but its not the only part of the story. 

It costs energy, resources and carbon to build our buildings, or fitout our offices. Reducing the environmental impact of our buildings can happen in both the construction of the buildings as well as in the operational impact of our buildings. 


In Australia a dollar of construction is about 1 kg of carbon, it varies depending upon which part of the building you are talking about but its a good approximation.

A $200,000 saving is about 200,000 kgs of carbon saved. If that saving can be achieved without impacting the ongoing operational energy consumption then its a straight off the bottom line carbon saving. 

So no you don’t have to spend more to be green, you can save money and be green at the same time. 

Cost savings equals carbon savings!

4 Comments on “Be frugal, be green!”

  1. I heard, in a talk last year I think, that 5 star could be built for the same cost as 4 star – would you agree? Annoyingly, I didn’t follow up the source of that statement but I think it may have been in a report by DLE… Anyway, good to know that 6 star doesn’t need to break the bank. I’m involved in an interior fit-out as a tenant on behalf of CUSP in Fremantle and we’re pushing Curtin University to commit to 6 stars. Fingers crossed!

    • Hi Colin. It depends upon the type of building. CBD office building then yes 5star would be close to 4star in cost. Suburban office building 5 would be more than 4star. Fitout 5star would be more than 4, 6star in a fitout could be as big as 30% uplift. So as normal the answer is – it depends.

  2. Pingback: Hot to be green – lessons from life hackers « SIMON WILD

  3. Pingback: Future Sustainable Workplace – Is it Herman Miller’s Public Office Landscape? « SIMON WILD

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