Cost of Green Roofs and Walls Expected to Be 28% Less in 2017

August 20, 2014 By Karen Henry

Lux Research Graphic-energy-manageBuilding-integrated vegetation (BIV)—the use of green roofs and green walls to improve air quality, manage storm-water and generate energy savings—is experiencing a burst of innovation to lower costs and hasten payback on investment, according to a report from Lux Research titled “Crossing the Chasm: Demonstrating Economic Value Is the Next Test for Building-integrated Vegetation.” 

In the drive to demonstrate economic value, the $6 billion industry has come up with a number of new ways to reduce material, installation and maintenance costs. All told, costs could be cut 28 percent— from $38 per square foot in 2012 to $23 per square foot by 2017.

In examining costs and benefits in the BIV industry, Lux Research made the following findings:

  • City-level incentives are critical to adoption. Given current costs, Lux Research estimated the simple payback period in Portland, Oregon, Copenhagen, and Beijing to be in excess of 15 years. But city incentives, such as tax abatements, can sharply cut payback period, enhancing the economic viability of BIV.
  • Green roof cost cuts drive down market size. Cost cuts across the world have exceeded expectations of 2 percent. Consequently, even though green roof installations are growing, its global market is expected to decline marginally 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, but measurement and verification players Columbia Green Technologies and Ecotelhado also reached the top quadrant.


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