|The True Cost of a Green Home |
The True Cost of a Green Home
Keeping Green In The Black
Two years ago, the
publishing industry was on the brink of meltdown when a glut of eco-centric
headlines nearly ran the nation out
of green ink. Yes, not since Popular Mechanics promised us all rocket
packs (still waiting) has near-future speculation caused so much fervor.
But now, as the red ink runs dry from printing all those jagged little
Good news saving the world is still popular.
I know that
I sound like Obama or something, but its true that going
green is really helping the world be better, says Jeff Smith, owner
of Smith Brothers Construction. It will help resolve global warming,
and produce less waste, and help us
It may also be one of the rare segments enjoying positive growth. According to the Green Outlook report from McGraw Hill Construction, the green building market is likely to hit $140 billion by 2013, more than doubling its present day value. The market for green building materials alone is expected to grow 7.2 percent annually, to reach over $80 billion in the same amount of time.
But for homebuilders feeling the pinch, local pocketbooks can trump global concern. Luckily, there is cause for hope.
As far as the actual construction goes, there are many things that we can do now for our clients that are considering green that dont cost them any more money, says Smith.
Take reflective plywood,
for example. Sure, its not as sexy as a roof slathered with solar
cells, but according to Todd Jackson of Jackson Design & Remodeling,
that there are some items that are just a smart way of building,
says Jackson. We did a home with 3,600 square feet of roofing
it cost me $865 more
Plenty of other cheap, yet far from flashy, choices abound. Customers building fresh ordoing a remodel can choose to use low VOC paint (doesnt belch poisonous gas), ultra-high R-value insulation made from recycled material, fire-resistant fiber cement siding, 40-year composition roofing, low-toxin wood finish, fly-ash concrete, and on and on. Even your sprinkler system can get a little greener.
upgrades their sprinkler
timers to a satellite monitored system that receives
Thirty to 40 cents each. Way less than a latte.
I think there
used to be a feeling that building green added 15 percent to the cost
With such little outlay, you might wonder why these options arent just construction de rigueur. For these contractors, they are.
has always been construction expertise, and I think this is just another
aspect of that. Clients expect us as good quality builders to be fully
Jackson says nearly the same. We tried a handful of things and now its just a standard with our process. I think its just what we have to do, its a necessity, not a trend.
Dont let the word standard fool you, though. Green building, seriously devoid of cookie-cutter solutions, still requires deep ingenuity, but for these builders, thats a good thing.
by and large is a tremendous amount of fun, says Wardell. Looking
at it from a sustainable point of view really makes it that much more
interesting, that much more
Jackson, who now has a dozen Build it Green certified staff members, seems to be solving the puzzle one step at a time.
You have to
just start, he says, dont get hung up and try to absorb
it all. Any time you make a stretch, youve got to ring the bell
and say, Hey, hallelujah. And then the next time its
not a stretch!