Cost of a Conventionally Built Home Vs. an Eco Home

Written by mercedes martinez
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Cost of a Conventionally Built Home Vs. an Eco Home
Eco-interior finishes: installed bamboo residential flooring (Modern Asian inspired hallway with bamboo floors image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com)

Green homes do not have to cost more than conventional homes to construct, and if done wisely it can cost less. On average, a green home costs approximately 2 per cent to 5 per cent more than a conventionally built home, and at times 10 per cent more when premium materials are used. However, when you compare your monthly utility bills with the cost of your green features from your mortgage payment, you can see the immediate savings.

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Reclaimed

What can save the most money is finding materials from deconstruction sites that the owners will usually give you free in exchange for removing them from their properties. You can find materials with more warmth and character than buying new, such as antique hardwood flooring or ceramic claw foot bathtubs. You can also check metal yards for pieces to refinish and add as accents or wall partitions.

Inexpensive Green Building Methods

When designing your home, consider methods that are cost-neutral and cost-effective. It should not cost more to properly design your home in alignment with the sun's angles. If you build your home so it has south-facing windows with average insulation values and large awnings, you can block out the summer sun while allowing winter heat gain, according to Braden Homes. Prefab homes typically cost far less to build (they can be found as low as £19,500), because they use materials efficiently. Prefab builders use modular materials that are precut to create minimal material waste, and the savings are passed to the homeowner. One of the most inexpensive building materials for a green home is cob, which is made from a mixture of clay, sand, straw, and a flour-and-water paste. The only major cost associated with this construction type is the labour.

Property Values

Property values rise in proportion to how many green features are included in a home's design. As mentioned by the president of appraisal company Realcorp, green homes will most likely sell at higher prices and faster than traditionally constructed homes. The American Institute of Architects states that 90 per cent of people are willing to pay £3,250 more for a house that uses less energy and protects the environment, according to CNN's Money Magazine.

Utility Bills

As reported by Energy Star, a conventionally built home loses 15 per cent to 20 per cent of heat or air conditioning from duct leaks. Green homes can minimise this loss by using more insulating materials, such as straw-bale and insulated (hemp) concrete. Retrofitting a home using a combination of energy-efficient measures and technologies can reduce energy consumption of the home up to 75 per cent. Some homes become energy-neutral or energy-negative (producing more energy than the home uses). Some of the methods and technologies include weatherization, tight insulation, a solar panel system, a solar thermal water heater, a geothermal heat pump and a wind turbine.

Materials and Technologies: Cost Reduction and Competition

With an increase in green materials emerging in the marketplace, competition is increasing and driving costs down. Solar technology has reduced its cost in half during the span of a few years. Bamboo flooring can be found at the same price as traditional wood flooring.

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