Does Green Cost More?

The most common debate, yes there is still a debate, is does it cost more to go green. Does green construction cost more than traditional construction? Well, the answer is simple: It Depends. It depends on where you are starting. If you are building code minimum – the worst possible thing you can do by law, then it probably cost more to build something of a higher quality. If you are building the most energy inefficient buildings possible, it probably cost more to build a product that is efficient. If you are only looking at up front costs and not considering life cycle or even day one cost, then it probably cost more to go green.

However, if you look at energy savings provided by building an efficient building then it will save you money to go green. Sure there are strategies that do cost more and don’t have an obvious payback, FSC wood for instance. It is better for the world, better for the forests where the wood is harvested, but has little impact on you here on a daily basis and certainly does not save you money. Low or No-VOC interior finishes are another hard element to draw a line between cost savings and use. However, we know that breathing chemicals impacts our health, reducing those chemicals should help us get sick less, therefore saving money in the long-term. Then there are the obvious things that we often overlook that do save us money. Every building should be insulated well, not just to code minimums built air tight and insulated right. I know you have been told not to build “too tight”, but have you considered where the air comes from in a leaky house. Your fresh air comes from the basement, crawl space, or attic. This air is not fresh air and certainly is not healthy air. If you have a house (with no pets) that needs to be dusted on a weekly basis, your house is leaky and inefficient. A good insulation package does cost more up front, but you get the savings back monthly. In many cases the monthly savings more than offset the added expense on your mortgage payment, saving you money day one. If you insulate correctly then your HVAC system will be smaller, your air quality will be better, and you will no for a fact that green does not cost more.

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