The Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Business Realities and Opportunities report, published by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, reveals the results of a survey of 1,400 key players in real estate and construction worldwide about the perceived costs and benefits associated with green buildings.

Respondents estimated that green construction added 17 percent to the cost of projects, whereas recent estimates show it adds only about 5 percent. Respondents also wrongfully pegged the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by buildings, guessing 19 percent of the world total. According to the report, the actual figure is closer to 40 percent.

“Existing technologies combined with common sense design can increase energy efficiency by 35 percent and reduce heating costs by 80 percent for the average building in industrialized markets,” said George David, CEO of United Technologies, which cosponsored the study along with French building materials company Lafarge.

“Life-cycle analysis shows that 80 percent to 85 percent of the total energy consumption and CO2 emissions of a building comes from occupancy through heating, cooling, ventilation and hot water use,” said Bruno Lafont, CEO of Lafarge. “Combining the right materials when designing a building envelope can greatly reduce a building’s energy requirements, increase its life span and ensure consistent performance.”

The study also found that about 20 percent of architects, engineers and developers worldwide have had experience with green building projects.

Essentially, the study confirms that green building is growing, but the fact that many are misinformed about the statistics of green building could be limiting that growth.  EC