The number one objection to building green is costs. The perception is green is too expensive.
As marketers and companies use the word loosely, the true meaning of “green” has become cloudy. The public has become skeptical of green marketing claims, and rightfully so.
In order to give the public a different understanding of the meaning of green certified homes by GreenStreet, we provide the prospective buyer with a quantitative Home Performance Report. Listed on the Performance Report, is the pre and post HERS index. The computer generated HERS index is a number given a home based on its energy efficient features; a lower number being better. From this, we are able to provide estimated annual energy savings.
By implementing improvements such as a new HVAC, improved insulation, new windows, cfl lighting, shading, and Energy Star appliances, we are able to improve the HERS index by 50 – 80%. This equates to an estimated annual utility savings of $1200 – $2000 for a 1500 sf home.
The approximate costs of the improvements:
HVAC – $3000
Windows (installed) $2000
Insulation – $350
Lighting – $50
Shading (plants) – $250
Appliances – $1500
Total – $7000
Although labeled “green,” we are going to implement these improvements regardless. Over a period of 10 years, the above improvements will impact the utility savings dramatically, costing the homeowner only $7000 (for ten years). If we do nothing to improve the energy efficiency of the same home, the estimated utility costs over a ten year period will be $27,000. This is a difference of $13,000 after deducting the cost of improvements.
Listed on the GreenStreet Performance Report along with the estimated annual energy savings and HERS report, is the estimated water savings, which are typically 50 – 70%. We accomplish this by using Water Sense fixtures, native landscaping, and a drip irrigation system.
The third category on our Performance Report is indoor air quality, which highlights improved ventilation and filtration strategies, along with low VOC materials. Whereas the debate about the costs for green continue, there is no debating financial savings.
When buying a car, the biggest label displayed is the gas mileage. Why is this not the same for a home?
A Performance Report should be mandatory when selling a home. The consumer should be given this information, and know the real costs of operating their dwelling. And, just like the ingredients found on a box of cereal, the homebuyer should be provided a list of the materials and finishes used in a home.
If a homebuyer is saving $2000 annually in utilities, this equates to approximately $150 a month, or the same as the cost of a $25,000 mortgage payment at current market rates. This means, by living in a high performance home the homebuyer can either afford more, or use the savings for something like their children’s college tuition.
The word “green” has become misused and overused in today’s marketplace. We need to start holding the green claims accountable, and to offer greater description.
In the case of GreenStreet homes we are providing a Performance Report listing estimated annual energy, water, and financial savings.
Why would you not want to live in a home that saves you money, aka a green home?