Comparing Investments in Sustainability With Cost Reduction From Waste Due to Lean Construction

Angela B. Saggin1, Caroline P. Valente2, Carlos Alexandre M. A. Mourão3 & Antônio Eduardo B. Cabral4

1Civil Engineer, Lean and Green Coordinator, C. Rolim Engenharia, Fortaleza-CE, Brazil,
2Civil Engineer, M.Sc. candidate, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Building Innovation Research Unit (NORIE), Porto Alegre-RS, Brazil,
3Civil Engineer, Technical Director, C. Rolim Engenharia, Fortaleza-CE, Brazil,
4Civil Engineer, Associate Professor, Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza-CE, Brazil,


The Architecture-Engineering-Construction industry shows some resistance in certifying (environmental labels) residential projects and applying lean construction practices due to uncertainty of its related costs and benefits. The most of the researches about green building certification costs are limited to commercial buildings. Few quantitative studies of cost reduction due to lean practices has been published so far. This paper presents a simplified comparative analysis between investments in sustainability and cost reduction due to reduction of materials’ waste on a residential project. The methodology consists of three steps: a documentation study to (1) quantify the extra costs with sustainable features in a LEED residential project and then (2) to determine the reduction of construction waste production by comparing the certified project with a similar building built prior the implementation of lean construction practices. (3) Finally, it was obtained green features and waste reduction costs impacts on the project’s final budget. This study resulted in two indicators, Green Cost and Lean Saving. The Green cost brought an increase of 1.32% on the initial budget due to green building certifications (LEED and INMETRO label) and the Lean Saving represented a 0.19% cost reduction on materials’ waste. Thus, the Lean Saving represents 14% of Green Cost.


Lean construction, sustainability, waste, green cost, lean saving



Saggin, A.B. , Valente, C.P. , Mourão, C.A.M.A. & Cabral, A.E.B. 2015, 'Comparing Investments in Sustainability With Cost Reduction From Waste Due to Lean Construction' In:, Seppänen, O., González, V.A. & Arroyo, P., 23rd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Perth, Australia, 29-31 Jul 2015. pp 223-230

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