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Does a green home really cost more?

There is a lot of misconception about the cost to build a green home. First what is a green home? It is a structure that is energy efficient, environmentally friendly and healthier to live in.

Yes there are certain aspects of a green built home that have a higher price tag up front, but does that mean they cost more?

There are many components of a green home but the higher price of some materials can be offset by the savings in other areas, through proper planning of your project. This planning starts well before any work starts and it must involve everyone associated with project from the owner, designer or architect, contractor and subcontractors. Everyone must know the goals of project up front. This is where the typical green project begins.  The key is to have a knowledgeable green construction manager overseeing the project.

Keep in mind there is a big difference between price and cost, while a typical green project may have a higher initial price tag, the overall cost will usually always be much less. If this is a financed project as most are, the monthly cash outlay will normally be less, even with a higher upfront cost.  As an example let’s say with proper planning and execution your upfront cost is 10,000.00 higher than a conventionally built home, this would result in an approximate addition of 60.00 per month amortized over a 30 yr mortgage.  But what if this extra money spent saved you an average of 150.00 per month or more? This would give you a positive cash flow of 90.00 or more per month. This is the purpose of a properly built green home, not to mention a better investment.

Now with that said, many people are using the Green title in everything for promotional purposes, but that does not necessarily make it green or environmentally friendly. Make sure you are getting the real thing. Here are some things to check for.

  1. Was low VOC paint used?
  2. Was a renewable hard surface flooring used or green label carpet used?
  3. Was advanced framing methods used to allow for less waste and a better sealed structure?
  4. Were high efficiency windows with low-e used?
  5. Is the envelope sealed to Energy Star or LEED standards?
  6. How far were raw materials transported to job site?
  7. Is mechanical ventilation being implemented with an ERV or HRV?
  8. Has the HVAC system been re-sized accordingly? (should be smaller)
  9. Has SPF insulation or a Hot Roof System been implemented?
  10. Was formaldehyde free glues used in building materials, especially in cabinets and counter-tops?

This is certainly not everything but a truly green home should have most if not all of these things implemented.  

Did you know that 90% of people surveyed in 2006 by the AIA said they were willing to pay more for a green built home?

Did you know in an actual case study a 3400 sq ft home done to EnergyWise standards had an annual energy cost of 400.00 or 33.31 per month?

Did you know that EnergyWise, which is a NASA spinoff company, will actually guarantee you these types of savings by using their total systems approach to green building? Other energy efficiency requirements pale in comparison to theirs.

Did you know that Bolivar Insulation was your local EnergyWise Company?

Are you starting to see how it actually pays to build green?


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