Does Green Building REALLY Cost More?
Posted by Steve Kleber on Jul 14, 2010
Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Does Green Building REALLY Cost More?Here’s the latest .
We’ve all heard it before: It costs more to build green. But does it? And how can you save money on your green home or renovation?
GREEN BUILDING ACTUALLY SAVES MONEY
True, the project itself costs more. There is about a 20 to 30 percent increase above the cost of a traditional home or renovation. However, that and more will be made up over time.
Take for example, energy efficient windows. They initially cost more than regular windows, that’s for sure, but they are also coated with a microscopic metal that reflects heat. This keeps heat out in the summer and inside in the winter. A quarter of a home’s energy is lost through its windows, so over time energy costs will decrease.
This also applies to energy efficient products such as water heaters. They may cost more upfront, but will save on water heating bills. When monthly costs are factored in, green home products actually save money.
Also, several tax incentives are available for those who build green. Individual items may be eligible for rebates as well. Green products are also more accessible for DIY-ers, as major home improvements stores carry energy saving materials.
Green is now viewed as a way to add value to the home. In fact, a green house can add 20 percent to the overall value of the home in some markets.
3 WAYS TO SAVE ON A GREEN BUILDING PROJECT
1. WATCH THE SIZE OF YOURHOME
If you are building a home, start by making it smaller. Do you really need two guest rooms? A living room AND a family room? Two closets in each bedroom? Probably not. The best way to cut costs is to figure out exactly what you need in the layout of your house… and what you can do without. Avoiding the cost of material for a room you might use only twice a year will significantly help your savings. And it could allow for extra room in the budget to buy higher quality materials and products for the rooms you do use.
2. THINK ABOUT WHERE EVERYTHING WILL GO
Not only will you save money by where your house is located, but you’ll save based on how it’s designed. Homes with east and west-facing windows help block much of the solar gain inside the house. If trees are planted in certain areas, they can provide natural shading for the home. And try to place water heaters in a neutral position so they can be as close as possible to every water source that will use it. The farther away a water heater is from a bathtub or dishwasher, the longer the water has to travel, and therefore will cool down. To make matters worse, more energy will be used to re-heat the water.
3. BE CREATIVE WITH MATERIALS
Many sustainable materials can be used or recycled in the building process. Boards from old buildings can make beautiful wood floors. Or a structural material (such as grout or concrete) can function as the finished surface as well, eliminating the need for additional purchases. Think also about all-in-one products such as primer that has the look of real paint so an extra coat is not needed.
If you use a stronger framing material for the skeleton of the house, studs do not need to be used as close together, which will also save money and optimize each piece of material.
Green building is not just a trend. According to the National Association of Home Builders, “…it is the future of building.” Hopefully more homeowners and builders will learn that this future is more cost effective and won’t break the bank.
Check out these sites for more information: