What Does A "Green" or "Sustainable" Home Really Cost?
Firstly, your Green or Sustainable Home does not have to look like something from another world. In fact, if you're correctly controlling costs, it should look just like you want it to look, with your style, and with a sensible and attractive use of building structural and finish materials.
At the heart of things, you have 2 costs to consider: 1) First Costs (Costs to Build or Buy), and 2) Long Term Costs (Costs to Operate). Intuition tells us that a Passive House building will cost more to build or buy, but by using the Simplus Building System you can actually lower your construction costs and time so much that you can get Passive House Operational costs (which are always less than conventional) for the same price or even less than it costs to build conventional construction.
There are many considerations to make when you Build or Buy. The quality of what you can build or buy varies greatly. The usual desire is to get as much Quality as you can for your Money, but you also have to consider whether or not one way of doing something will take more or less Time than something else. You also should consider what Quantity of something you can get for your dollars.
So, when you’re looking at Costs, you’re also looking and these other Key Factors of Time, Quantity, and Quality. If you’re not considering all of them, then you’re likely to miss something and risk ending up getting something different than what you thought you were getting. That’s where using a Certified Passive House Designer, like Tim Sweeney, is a smart thing to do.
But, First Costs are what you start with. Once you’ve bought your house, condo, or building, then you have your long-term Operating Costs. Those are the dollars you pay to turn the lights on, heat and cool, power things like appliances and electronics, insurance, repairs, and whatever else you want to pay for that involves your home.
Your Operating Costs can also vary wildly, depending on how well and energy-efficiently your home is built. A more energy-efficient home will burn less fuels, which will lower your energy consumption and costs, but it will likely cost you more to get that level of energy efficiency if you use conventional building and design methods.
The trick here is to find the most efficient and cost-effective balance of energy efficiency. You want to get to where you’ve put in the right amount of insulation and other systems in the right way without it becoming “overkill” and a waste of money. Nor do you want to “shortchange” yourself. Balancing the design with the Time, Money, Quantity, and Quality criteria is the Goal.
So, when someone asks you what’s the cost of “going Green”, the answer is hard to give. There’s really so much to consider. Thankfully, though, if you use a Certified Passive House Designer you can actually get both lower First Costs AND lower Operating Costs WITHOUT paying more than conventional construction. IF you have the right design and make the right selections, then you’ve done your job correctly. As you should learn with proper research, using the Simplus Building System, which is a combination of Passive House and MgO Panel technologies combined, is your best choice.
But if you think about it, what will really cost you the most is NOT going Green. If you choose conventional ways of construction then you'll almost certainly be following a more wasteful approach and paying more while you're getting less. You'll also have to live a long time with your choices and if you're honest and recognize what you've done, you'll likely regret those choices for as long as your building and you exist.
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