In the Business of Building Green : The value of low-energy residential buildings from customer and developer perspectives

Abstract: An overarching aim of this research was to investigate the comprehensive value of green residential buildings as seen from two perspectives: that of the developer and that of the occupant (the customer). The dissertation consists of studies presented in seven papers.  The studies conducted to investigate the developer’s perspective focused on construction cost and potential profit (papers I and VII). The customer’s perspective was examined with three approaches: the impact that energy and environment have on the decision to purchase (or rent) an apartment (paper V), willingness to pay for a green apartment (paper VI) and finally, the occupants’ satisfaction with the dwelling and indoor environment (papers II, III and IV). The first paper examines whether increased investment costs are profitable, taking into account the reduction in operating costs. The investment viability is approached by comparing investment in conventional and green residential building, particularly passive houses, using real construction and post-occupancy conditions. The increased investment costs in energy-efficient building were also the focus of paper VII. In this paper, the aim was to study how technologies used in energy-efficient residential building construction affect the available saleable floor area and how this impacts on the profitability of the investment. Potential losses and gains of saleable floor area in energy-efficient buildings were assessed using a modelled building and analysed with the help of the average construction cost.Papers II and IV present results from a study of occupants’ satisfaction and indoor environmental qualities. Both papers aim at comparing and analysing responses from occupants living in green and conventional buildings. Paper III focuses on a similar subject, but investigates occupants’ satisfaction among all adults living in multi-family buildings in Sweden, providing a national context for the results presented in papers II and IV. The results indicate that occupants are generally satisfied with their dwellings, but indoor environment proved to have a statistically significant effect on overall satisfaction.The results in paper V indicate that energy and environmental factors have a minor impact on customers’ decision to purchase or rent an apartment. However, availability of information on building energy and environmental performance may have an effect on the likelihood of the buyers’ being interested in environmental qualities and consequently an impact on their decision. The study presented in paper VI shows that customer interest in energy and environmental factors has a significant impact on stated willingness to pay for green dwellings. The paper discusses the stated willingness to pay for low-energy buildings and buildings with an environmental certificate and attempts to assess the rationale of the stated willingness to pay for low-energy dwellings given potential energy savings.