Sustainable architectural design, materials, and technologies typically make a building more energy and resource efficient, reducing the ongoing operating costs of a building, such as lighting, heating & cooling, and water usage.
Differences in capital costs between environmentally sustainable design and technologies, and a more traditional, minimum-code building have reduced over time, and when incorporated in a new build from the outset the difference can now be minor.
More recently, engineered timber technologies such as LVL and CLT have been a catalyst for rethinking commercial construction, enabling us to reduce reliance on steel and concrete for structural elements.
As we consider how to reduce our collective carbon footprint, it is important not just that new buildings are designed with sustainability in mind, but that we consider the best ways to retrofit existing buildings with a view to making them more efficient. From a carbon point of view, preserving our existing buildings and making sure they are fit-for-future is a powerful action, as we have already emitted the carbon associated with their construction.