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Challenges and Benefits of implementing sustainability on a Project and Organisation level

Quick Take

Implementing sustainability on a project level could be verified by acquiring a building certificate such as LEED or BREEAM which requires you to follow sustainability practices.

Project level


  • Be trying to acquire a sustainability certificate

  • Extra costs and time are required on the project to optimize the design for improved sustainability

  • High Resource use: Software subscriptions and extra man-hours are required as whole life assessment is complicated as a lot of topics and a lot of data should be analyzed and collected to be able to acquire a certificate that is complex in nature

  • Challenge of passing the sustainable certification

  • A long-term benefit of social impact but costs is high in capital cost

  • Hard, more expensive, and time-consuming to educate stakeholders and supply chain to be more sustainable to bring the overall impact of the project lower

  • Finding sustainable materials is hard to find based on the geographical location of the project, if it is a developing country is hard to find sustainable material

  • Higher risk and uncertainty of the results as innovative solutions/nonstandardized methods of design are used

  • Ensuring financial viability against sustainability implementation could be a barrier to acquiring financing for the project

  • Site availability such as sun available to implement solar panels for energy savings however environment the asset is being built in has limitations on the level and things possible to be done to reduce the environmental impact


  • Encourages decision-making at the concept stage of a project which promotes sustainability

  • Increase of financial profits from revenues as a higher standard of the final product

  • The high social reputation of the developer of the asset demonstrates a commitment to sustainability as a company

  • Sell expertise of knowledge of sustainable development to win future work

  • Is recognized by global standards by acquiring the certificates such as BREEAM

  • Decrease whole life costs

  • Less waste on-site and reduced operational costs as well as energy savings of energy loss from buildings

  • Automation that can increase the efficiency of material selection with sustainability in mind can also reduce simultaneously costs

  • Projects are more resilience for future weather events as sustainability principles will be implemented in the design and more resilient construction of the asset will be implemented

  • The project becomes more attractive and can get planning permission easier if it is a sustainable project

  • Attracts more people to leave in that project if it is a residential building

  • Brings a positive impact to the environment compared to other more heavy-impact projects

Organizational level


  • Common sense of objectives and collaboration is hard as people want to implement sustainability but not always to the extent of level that everyone agrees

  • Increase of overall costs as it requires extra thinking meaning extra billable hours

  • Behavioral change of people, such as time is required to train people to change perspective and start thinking more sustainably

  • Innovative new solutions may be hard for regulatory and standards and may increase the risk to the company to implementing these new solutions

  • Automations may be hard to implement in company systems such as automated calculation of carbon emissions of options, however, REVIT and BIM extensions can be optimized to do so but require expertise and a trained workforce

  • Politically need to change the viewpoint of sustainability as the majority of big meaningful projects are carried out by the public and they provide the majority of funding and direction of new developments


  • Reputational boost as ESG proactive corporation and cares about sustainability

  • Increase profitability through sustainability however it should be pointed out that pushing sustainability too hard may increase costs, this is a debate

  • Implementing sustainability will introduce new innovative solutions as engineers and designers need to think outside the box

  • More attractive to investors and attract funding internationally as sustainable developments are something everyone wants to be associated with


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