Green building and energy efficient homes seem to be becoming more and more the norm in home building. However, the costs involved in “going green” seem to be pretty high.
I want to distinguish first between what I see in my view as two separate areas: to me “green “ means the incorporation of specific materials and/or processes in to the construction process that reduce the environmental impact of the project. Examples include: bamboo flooring, recycling of building site debris, or installing a water catchment system. Next, I see energy efficiency as the use of specific products and/or materials that are considered “green” but also directly impact the electricity usage of the structure. Here examples could include LED lighting, spray foam insulation, or a solar panel system.
In both cases, a consumer must weigh out the financial value of any of these products or services. Common sense and historical data tells us that as time moves forward we will continue to pay higher rates for power and water. In Texas specifically, we have a unique challenge right now as people are flooding in to our state from all over the US to take advantage of our strong economic conditions. This will continue to stress our already fragile water and electric infrastructure. As demand increases I see real concerns with the state being able to efficiently keep up with a reliable supply. Many factors need to be weighed in making a decision to include any of these items in to the construction of your home. But as I have analyzed the issues over the past few years I came to the conclusion that I believe many of the energy efficient products will become standard features on most if not all new homes.
Therefore I have partnered with Ecosense Energy, an energy brokerage company that is capable of offering solar systems and LED products. When the financial models are generated, if a consumer is able to maintain a long term outlook and intends to stay in the home for at least seven years then I see solar being a wise investment. Combine this with proper insulation, highly efficient traditional or geothermal HVAC systems, new LED products that continue to hit the market, and an all-encompassing efficient building shell (windows, doors, and sheathing systems) then you will have a home that should stand the test of the power grid that will come. Now combine this with the federal, state, and utility company incentives available to homeowners and you are able to develop a very sensible case.
The “green” products that can be used in the construction of the home are more of a personal decision on behalf of each client as to how much they may be willing to invest in dollars to reduce the carbon footprint of their home. I would like to see the further development of incentives for utilizing specific products in to the home.
~ Joseph Lavezzari