Green is Too Expensive

Lennar Homes recorded fourth quarter 2009 profits of 35 million.

Ryland Homes recorded fourth quarter profits of 60 million in 2008, and 30 million in 2009.

KB recorded fourth quarter profits of 919 million in 2008.

One of the most common objections to green building and remodeling is that green is too expensive.

In order to address this common objection to green, we must first define what it means to build green. Referencing a previous blog post, the definition of green remodeling and building is energy efficiency, water efficiency, improved indoor air quality, good design, location near the workplace and local amenities and community services, and a preference to materials that are reused, recycled, or reclaimed.

All of the above have low and high budget construction strategies. With this in mind, this blog post will focus on the practical, low-budget, high impact items.

LEED and NAHB encourage Manual J modeling for the HVAC, waste reducing framing strategies, and the covering of ducts during construction. These simple strategies cost little or no money, and often result in financial savings and improved air quality.

As guided by LEED and NAHB, replacing traditional paint with paints and coatings that meet Green Seal Standard 11 and 43, costs little or no extra money, and dramatically improves indoor air quality.

Native landscaping, and limiting turf significantly reduces water use, as does using fixtures that are Water Sense labeled.

The use of cfl’s in place of incandescent lighting, can often reduce homes energy consumption by 20%, and costs no extra money.

In Arizona, after rebates and incentives, a solar hot water system is reduced from approximately $6500 to $1300.

Green does not have to be more expensive.

In most cases green is improving traditional building practice, resulting in energy and water efficiency, and healthier homes.

Higher SEER HVAC units, solar systems, and foam insulation are higher budget green improvements. But, will payback your investment over the life of your home.

Objecting to green because it is too expensive is not acceptable.
Even during current market challenges, big builders are profitable.
What if we accept green construction strategies, and also accept that the expense does not have to be passed on to the consumer, rather it should become a way of doing business. Green is the right thing to do even if it slightly reduces profits.

Building and remodeling homes should not only about making a profit, but it should also reduce the impact on our environment, and make homes healthier for the occupants.

Green building is simply the responsible thing to do, socially, environmentally, and financially.

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