Aug 062013

Do net zero homes cost more?

Even if the initial sticker price is higher, net zero homes are the less expensive option.

Zero Energy Homes image - Florida Green Home BrokersThe cost of green home features are coming down as fast as laptop computer prices, making many of them cost the same as conventional homes. However, a conventionally powered home will initially always be less expensive than a net zero energy home. This is because the latter has been built using high performance construction materials and methods that holistically make it possible for the electric load to be satisfied with only a 5 KW, or smaller solar electric system.

Conventional construction will include more windows, regular insulation, and non-air-sealed construction methods, which allow for the transfer of air, heat and cold through the envelope (the home’s outer shell). This is because the conventional builder’s goal is not net zero energy.  Add to that the type, solar heat gain and u value rating of the windows (performance indicators, like MPG ratings for cars), the low efficiency air conditioner and hot water heater that one will get with conventional construction, and you will see that net zero energy is not possible.

If everyone could go to net zero by simply installing a 5KW solar electric system, then every conventionally built home would achieve net zero, and the high performance home builders would have no market.

While the price of a net zero home might initially look higher, one needs to take into account the real cost of the ever increasing extra energy, water and higher insurance costs that the homeowner will be saddled with for years to come, by going conventional, as well as the fact that he/she will be living in a less comfortable, less safe  home, with inferior air quality.

Comparing the cost of a conventionally built home to a net zero energy, non toxic, stronger and better built, hurricane resistant home, is simply not an apples for apples comparison.

Also remember that when the time comes to sell the home, statistics show that energy efficient green homes sell much faster, and at approximately 9% higher prices.

Before making any decisions, a buyer should ask the conventional builder what the proposed HERS score (Home Energy Rating Score – a critical construction performance target to know what size the solar system should be) and hurricane rating of the home will be on the day of occupancy, and then sit down and compare the long term energy and insurance cost of ownership with what the net zero energy home builder is offering. As with everyone who does this analysis, a high performance zero energy green home always ends up being the less expensive option, even if the initial sticker price is higher.

If you need help with these calculations, we are available to do them for you and help you make the right decision about buying a net zero energy home. You may also want to visit our Net Zero Energy homes – the way all homes should be page as well as Is a Net Zero Energy home the same as a Zero Energy home? and The least expensive path to a zero energy home. Please also see our information about the Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) and other useful loans on our Green Home Financing page.

Please visit our Model for Net Zero Homes

Our services are always FREE to Buyers, and we contribute $500 towards closing costs if you buy through us, as well as $250 toward our Switch to Green, Switch it Forward Fund, to help fight poverty and climate change.

Let us show you how we can be Your Green Dream Team to help you to Live in a High Performance Green Home, that will Save You Money and help you to Pay Your Mortgage Off Years Earlier, while at the same time, live in a home that is Healthier, More Comfortable, Safer and Kinder To The Earth.

For more information, PLEASE REGISTER. We look forward to making Green Home living your reality.

Marius J Smook – Licensed Real Estate Eco-Broker, LEED AP for HOMES, Home Energy Rater.

 August 6, 2013

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