The Economic and Environmental Impact of Sustainable Building : A Life Cycle Analysis Using the Arcus Center as a Case Study
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There is currently a stigma related to the construction of green, sustainable buildings. In the past, sustainable technology was far too expensive to yield a return on investment. This discouraged architects from incorporating sustainable infrastructure, as it was not a financially feasible. In recent years however, the technology necessary to construct a sustainable building has become viable enough to yield a return on investment. Unfortunately, most buildings are still being designed with no concern to their environmental impact due to the lack of awareness and perceived risk of green building. In order to fully assess the value that green buildings have to offer, a life cycle analysis of the Arcus Center has been conducted. This sustainable building on Kalamazoo College's campus has provided two years’ worth of utility consumption data allowing the comparison of the social, environmental, and financial benefits of sustainable "green" design to the costs of the high performance technology, construction and assessment costs, and operation and maintenance costs. The main goal of this case study is to provide an analytical examination of a sustainable building's lifetime value compared to its past and future costs.