Using green construction materials can present a higher upfront cost for developers than traditional building materials. However, there is a very persuasive argument that these materials are worth the higher initial investment; they increase the resell value of the property, save the building thousands of dollars in yearly energy costs, and benefit the environment. In addition, as green building technologies continue to be developed, some of their prices will drop.
Trying to determine how much money is saved through the use of green construction materials may, at times, be hard. The cost of a roof made with green building technologies is difficult to assess, and so too, is the financial benefit. When contractors make a roof with LEED points in mind, they can use a roof-comparison calculator. These calculators, like the one created by the National Roofing Contractors Association, take into consideration a number of factors, from materials to roof size. Then, they calculate your potential energy savings. They cannot, however, take into account certain factors like the heating and cooling equipment, the local weather, or the efficiency of other areas of the building that may negatively impact the roof.
When you look at statistics, you need to keep in mind the fact that roof efficiency varies from building to building. Zinco, a green roof manufacturer from Germany, estimates that green roofing materials can help a building to save 2 liters of fuel per year for every square meter of roof. They estimate that the roof will pay for itself over two to three years of use. When their materials were used on a London roof, they saved £4,300 ($7,060) in energy costs per year at the current energy rate. In this case, their materials were added to a pre-existing roof, but if they had been used when the building was new, they may have saved £10,000 ($16,419).
The cost benefit of green construction materials is hard to calculate, but when you come across statistics, they are always favorable. In addition to energy cost savings, green building technologies offer a host of other advantages. They can remove carbon emissions from the air, sometimes at an incredibly impressive rate that allows one roof to remove the impact of dozens of vehicles. They also increase the resale value of the building in a manner that suggests that a two percent higher investment in building materials can yield a twenty percent return in resale value.