More people are looking for and asking their contractors to build them a green home, one that is energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. As with many issues, their main goal is saving money on utility bills and possibly getting more money for their home when they sell it rather than being kind to the earth.
But there are many good reasons to go with a green home.
- Yes the first is for lower electric and water bills with energy-efficient appliances, tankless water heaters for less wasted water waiting for hot water to reach sinks and showers, more air-tight homes, computer controlled heat and air.
- A good second reason is for higher real estate resale value. Business Wire ran an article about new and existing green homes in King County taking up to 18 percent less time to sell and for a price 28 to 37 percent higher per square foot.
- Another money-related reason is for less maintenance cost and more durability with green materials like bamboo floors instead of carpet.
- Then there are those tax incentives like the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), U.S. Department of Energy federal tax incentives, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and ENERGY STAR® program green funding sources, and local tax breaks listed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
- Health costs may be reduced through fewer health issues with better indoor air quality or a healthy-built home, especially for those suffering from allergies, asthma, and lung problems.
- Less money will be spent on wasted construction materials sent to landfills, particularly with factory-built modular homes, and some recycled building materials may reduce building costs.
- Water use can be reduced through native landscaping and xeriscaping which may not need any irrigation, rain water and gray water harvesting. A composting setup can save on buying gardening and potting soils and fertilizer.
- Alternative energy sources like solar and wind can actually make money on payback from the grid for extra power generated by the home system and there will not be power outages to endure.
- Some insurance companies like Liberty Mutual, AON and Travelers Insurance offer premium discounts in products tied to green building rating system certifications.
- In addition to all the money-saving reasons, there is the good feeling about improving the environment by reducing climate change impacts. The USGBC says homes in the U.S. create 21 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions. Local building materials save fuel on transporting goods from foreign countries and help the local economy.
A green home is sustainable, having a longer life-cycle. Green homes bought in green developments offer a greater sense of community with planning for spaces to get outside, be with nature and know the neighbors, maybe the best reason of all.