Volume 2017 Number 2
  • EISSN: 2223-506X


The aim of this paper is to start a conversation about the cost premium for green buildings in Qatar. It examines what Qatar has achieved over the last decade and explores the root cause of green building cost premiums, why they exist, what can we do about them, and why should we accept them. For the purposes of this paper, the term green building specifically refers to buildings pursuing certification under USGBC's “LEED” or GORD's “GSAS” rating system, which are most commonly used in Qatar.

However, lower oil prices have led to tighter spending and a greater focus on value engineering and cost savings. It is assumed that the environmental benefits of green buildings are understood and taken as given. Accordingly, here we aim to shift the conversation toward how to maximize value from implementing green building rating systems. We analyze the costs and benefits of the main GB rating systems currently used in Qatar, such as GSAS and LEED. By identifying the costs of constructing a green building, in this study, we aim to inform developers how to minimize the cost premium while getting more benefits. We also identify some of the causes of key problems that can occur on GB projects, where GB cost premiums can increase beyond what is typical for the certification level achieved. These problems can often lead to symptoms beyond cost over-runs and can manifest themselves as time delays, quality, and other issues. In addition, some of the key strategies to reduce GB costs and increase the economic benefits from achieving GB certifications are identified.

We conclude the paper with some recommendations to authorities for adopting GB rating systems on a wider scale to achieve a greater scale of change. We focus on some key issues with the GSAS rating schemes that influence GB costs and strive for a common energy simulation approach for all regional GB rating systems in the GCC. We also discuss how the integrity of a GB rating system is imperative to building confidence in the value of each certification level, which should result in “Green Premiums” being reflected in the property market. Finally, we argue that with support from Qatar Green Building Council and GORD, Qatar's planning authorities should initiate programs for the sustainable development of buildings in Qatar.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): constructioncost premiumdesigngreen buildingsQatar and sustainability
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