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Cost of Green Roofs, Walls to Drop by 28%

Green RoofThe cost of building-integrated vegetation will drop from $38/square foot to $23/square foot in 2017 as the result of an increase in innovation aimed at lowering costs and reducing return time on investment, according to Lux Research.

BIV technology uses green roofs and green walls to improve air quality, manage storm water and generate energy savings.

According to Aditya Ranade of Lux, there are many untapped opportunities to make BIV a better investment and reduce its dependence on subsidies and incentives. However, little has been done with new material properties approaches, and further reduction in external irrigation and weeding can cut the 40-year operation and maintenance cost in half. In addition, waterproofing, drainage and insulation costs can be cut 60 percent.

Lux analysts examined costs and benefits in the BIV industry as well as the critical part played by policy measures. Among their findings:

  • City-level incentives are critical to adoption. Given current costs, Lux Research estimates the simple payback period in three cities – Portland, Oregon, Copenhagen and Beijing – to be more than 15 years. However, city incentives, such as tax abatements, can sharply cut payback period.
  • Cuts in green roof costs drive down market size. Cost cuts across the world have exceeded modest expectations of 2 percent. However, although green roof installations are growing, its global market is expected to decline slightly from $5.1 billion in 2011 to $4.7 billion in 2017.
  • Many strong technology developers have emerged. On the Lux Innovation Grid, numerous BIV developers earned the highest “Dominant” rating. Most were global firms like Xero Flor, Vegetal i.D, Soprema and Icopal that have experience and scale as green roof system integrators. However, measurement and verification players Columbia Green Technologies and Ecotelhado also reached the top quadrant.

A number of organizations, including Wal-Mart, the US Postal Service and Hilton Hotels have been actively using BIV technology.

Photo Credit: Green Roof via Shutterstock

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