Do you have a green home? I don’t mean a green-painted home, although if you’ve used zero VOC (volatile organic compound) paint, you’ve made a great start. Of course, I’m referring to ‘green’ as in the ‘environmentally-friendly’ choice. Are green homes worth the price?
Recent developments would lead us to wonder if enough people are committed to going green. Within the past year, graduate students of the University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design & Planning could find no buyers for two green homes. Even more remarkable is that the homes were selling for half their worth.
Every year, Dan Rockhill, a well-respected professor at the university, organizes the non-profit Studio 804 – a design/build program for architects-to-be. The homes sell cheaper than normal due to the donations from businesses as well as the student labor. These bright, new architects have produced award-winning, energy-efficient homes. Their latest project was an ultra-efficient house in Kansas City, Kansas.
Actually, Rockhill expects this green home – the Prescott Passive House – to be the first in Kansas to receive a certification from the Passive Institute (a green building standard demanding 90% less energy than the average home). The Prescott Passive House has been chosen already as ‘This Week’s Green House’ and is expected to earn top marks from the U.S. Green Building Council. Of course, the 2009 Studio 804 home received a first-class rating from the USGBC and that house is still on the market.
Naturally, economic conditions are not the best for home sales. Yet the reluctance of people to invest in ‘green homes’ is rooted in more than the economy. Home buyers say that they are committed to a green home. Builders have even noticed that trend and are incorporating green features into their buildings.
Yet many home buyers are not prepared to pay extra for a green lifestyle. You may think that is understandable with the state of the economy. In most cases, however, the cold shoulder been given to green is not based on available finances. Industry leaders have observed that some home buyers turn a blind eye to ‘green’ and put their money into eye candy like state-of-the-art countertops or Jacuzzis.
So, what about the green? Choosing a granite countertop over high-performance windows is like choosing the frosting without the cake. The stuff is sweet is but the fluff has no foundation.
Would I choose the ‘green’ over the ‘granite?’ Yes! The reality is, however, that some home buyers turn away from green of their own choosing. Other home buyers just want a roof over their children’s heads and they are not able to afford the granite or the green.
If you can afford to choose green, it makes sense to go for it. If you cannot afford “green,” that is society’s shame. Our world needs more affordable housing and it should be affordable ‘green’ housing. Demand and incentives will encourage builders to go ‘green’ and still maintain a reasonable rate for buyers.
Developers have to know that there is something good in it for them. I could appeal to the real estate tycoons and say – come on, build green, even if you make less profit. So, you make $1,000,000 less, but look how you will be helping everyone to live in a healthy and green environment. I could launch that appeal but the real estate market is basically about the bottom line.
Our society has to come to a point where “not being green” is viewed as a “totally unacceptable choice.” Over the years, we have seen awareness and education cause a total shift in certain attitudes in our society. We need to go in that direction with energy-efficient homes because ‘living green’ is worth any price.
Would You Pay Extra For A ‘Green’ Home?
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