Many are concerned about what might happen to the green building market when climate change denial is seeing a political resurgence in the US and UK. Yet there is a way to defend green buildings using a business and economics lens palatable even to the biggest green building skeptic. Long used in the world of large-cap infrastructure projects, "cost-benefit analysis" is the gold standard when it comes to weighing different design options for their Net Present Value, Life Cycle Cost, Return on Investment, etc.

Over the past year, two real estate industry leaders, Prologis and San Francisco International Airport, have recently taken that approach and improved upon it, using rigorous economic methodologies from academia and industry alike to also translate into dollar terms the non-financial value of their green building designs, including enhanced occupant health and productivity from improved IEQ and lighting, increased property value and reduced flood risk from green infrastructure, and improved community support from preserving local air and water quality.

Learning Objectives

  • Ascertain how cost-benefit analysis has been applied in the infrastructure realm, and how it can be employed to defend green buildings as they come under increasing scrutiny in political discourse.
  • Tailor to their own day-to-day job tips and anecdotes from those who've succeeded in countering skepticism about the economic appeal of green buildings.
  • Describe the fundamentals of triple-bottom-line cost-benefit analysis, a new class of cost-benefit analysis that draws on the best academic economics research to put dollar values on non-financial performance characteristics.
  • Apply what they've learned in a real-world debate simulation with a colleague, so they feel confident about introducing these tenets into their practice.

Knowledge of green building, economics.