chapter  2
e Case for Eco-retrotting From impact mitigation to net positive impacts
Pages 20

A major impediment to green building, let alone biophysical sustainability, remains the false belief that responsible design and construction costs more.1 It is, however, now well established that new green buildings need not cost more than conventional ones, and can cost far less from a life-cycle and societal perspective.2 Many case studies and reports have demonstrated that investments in building eco-efficiencies can be highly profitable for owners, while reducing externality costs to the public as a whole.3 Even buildings that have involved a substantial amount of research and development have paid back the extra investment within about 10 years or less, and the payback period is shrinking rapidly.4 Although far less than 10 per cent of new buildings in the ‘developed’ nations are ‘green’, the numbers of green buildings are reputedly increasing by 20 per cent a year in the US.5 Nonetheless, the rate of uptake of green building strategies and technologies still does not reflect their stunning investment opportunities. We are instead continuing to throw more good money after bad. It is therefore necessary to survey some of the economic and health benefits of retrofitting for owners, builders, developers and the general public.