There are many different types of green construction and because the definition of green construction varies, green home building costs also vary. Green construction is generally highly economical. Some green ideas save money on construction costs while others save money later in durability and energy savings. There are many aspects to green construction and most green homes do not incorporate all the possible shades of green involved in green construction. Below are some of the widely varied goals of green construction. For more information, download our free 98 page guide, which is available at the top right of this site. You might also be interested in the following article: Green Home Building Overview.
Evaluating Green Home Building Costs: The Many Shades of Green
• Energy efficiency through insulation (R-factor)
• Energy efficiency through superior construction
• Energy efficiency through using energy star appliances, heating and air
• Energy production with solar energy panels
• Using local materials to avoid long distance shipping
• Using organic natural materials (rammed earth, straw, hand made brick, or adobe)
• Using insulated concrete panels for a longer lasting more energy efficient structure
• Using recycled materials ( for example blocks made of compressed paper)
• Using found items (for example colored glass bottles mounted in concrete mortar to form a window wall, filtering the light like stained glass)
• Using salvaged materials from demolition
• Using existing structures and containers (old train cars, or stacks of shipping containers used as a home)
• Ferro cement construction
• Log homes
• Timber cladding (clapboard siding)
Safe and Non-Polluting
• Avoiding materials that cause health concerns (treated lumber, lead paint, asbestos)
• Equipment for having water filtered for contaminants
• Air filtration systems
• Mold prevention
• Area assigned for a vegetable garden
• Putting in a fish pond
• Extra space for food storage
• Specialty kitchen appliances for food preservation
• Installing a root cellar
As you can see there are more green ideas and even green ideals than could ever be used in a single structure, or even by a single contractor. Green can be any shade of green, from simply building a nice energy efficient structure in a housing development, to living in a sphere shaped dome made of Ferro-cement, completely off the grid, in a remote location. Just as olive and forest are both shades of green, in the same way all the above ideas are equally green.
Different people prefer different aspects of green. Further building codes, public officials and inspectors are not all on the same page when considering what is allowed when it comes to green construction. Development restrictions, city ordinances or state codes may prevent your style of green construction. You may be restricted on where you would be allowed to build your green dream home. Just as there are shades of the color green some people don’t like, some people may not like certain shades of green construction in their neighborhoods.
Costs for Different Shades of Green
• Some shades of green are strictly ‘do-it-yourself’ on your ‘homestead’ ideas, which could save hundreds of thousands of dollars, up to 90% of the cost. Unfortunately the most innovative ideas may run into legal red tape with inspectors, and you might get blocked on a building permit.
• Some green materials, such as log homes, and insulated concrete panels are much less expensive and perfectly acceptable as building materials in most states. These can save you 30% to 60% of cost, especially if you care to do portions of the work yourself.
• More traditional green construction which involves building a more durable energy efficient structure could cost you an extra dollar or two per square foot. However that money would be reimbursed in the electric bill.
• The government will pay for over half of your solar panel expense if you apply correctly. This could make solar power cost effective for most people who could not otherwise afford it. The cost of solar panels varies, and there are different types and qualities, and different technologies incorporated. The price of solar panels varies considerably, but with the government paying for over half of it, there may be an affordable system just right for your dream home.
Green construction is very economical, both long term and short term. Green construction is well worth it even if your shade of green costs more instead of less. Green construction goals are to create durable, energy efficient structures, which are safer and more comfortable than standard construction, and which are also good for the planet. All of these ideas give you a substantial return on your green home building costs.