ROI: Reducing up-front costs

working group of employees

When considering whether to implement sustainable building practices, building owners and developers are often concerned that the initial first costs will be too high and will not outweigh other cost benefits. Decades of research and case studies provide compelling counterarguments, demonstrating that integrated design, smart tradeoffs, and various grants and incentives can reduce initial first costs.  

Literature review completed by University of Washington’s Integrated Design Lab for AIA in 2020.

Integrated Design Process (IDP)

The integrated design process is a collaborative effort among stakeholders throughout all stages of design and construction that aims to reduce inefficiencies and enhance value to produce the highest quality project.1, 2

Key Integrated Design Process talking points:

  • Projects that use IDP have fewer inefficiencies and produce “better, faster, less costly, and less adversarial construction projects”.3
  • Construction costs and strategies that are considered from the beginning result in fewer requests for information (RFIs) and change orders. Reducing the amount of RFIs and change orders can decrease overall project time and save money by minimizing modifications.4


  1. Koch, C. & Buhl, H. '"Integrated Design Process" a Concept for Green Energy Engineering." Engineering. 2013.  
  2. Hanna, A. Benchmark Performance Metrics for Integrated Project Delivery. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. 2016.
  3. AIA's "Integrated Project Delivery: A Guide". 2007.
  4. Malin, N., Yost, P., Pearson, C. Improving Green Building Construction in North America: Guide to Integrated Design and Delivery. 2015.

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working group of employees