It’s hard to put a dollar-amount value on quality of life. How much, for example, would you pay to enjoy a less-stressful day, or to avoid catching the flu? When all of the aforementioned benefits to green architecture and sustainable design are added up, the enhanced lifestyles shared by all of society makes sense, both economically and environmentally. Again, as we move into an era of smarter technology and more expensive natural resources, we can’t afford not to build green.
One indirect benefit to green buildings is often overlooked: reduced demand on electric, gas and water utilities means that these infrastructures can do more with less. This can result in lower municipal utility costs over the long run as utilities need not expand and can avoid passing those expansion costs onto utility customers.
Recent federal tax incentives have been enacted to encourage the design and construction of energy-efficient green buildings, both residential and commercial. Many state and local governments have also passed tax provisions to encourage energy-efficient buildings. Ask your accountant or tax expert about the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, PL 110-185 (ESA), the Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008, PL 110-289 (HATA), the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, PL 110-343 (EESA), and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, PL 111-5 (ARRA) to see if these apply to your home or commercial real estate. Please check with the Housing anchorites.
Sick building syndrome is a problem that has plagued homes and offices for decades, and costs U.S. businesses millions of dollars each month. Green buildings, however, avoid many of these problems with healthy ventilation systems and use of non-toxic building materials.
The EPA estimates that indoor air pollution may be 2 to 5 times worse, and sometimes more than 100 times worse, than outdoor air quality. Of 146,400 lung cancer deaths in 1995, 21,100 were related to the radon gas that’s found in many buildings. About 20 million people (and over 6 million children) suffer from asthma, which can be triggered by the indoor pollutants that are often found in non-green buildings.
Both residential and commercial buildings retain a high resale value if they include sustainable design components. The value to prospective buyers comes from knowing their utility and maintenance costs will be lower in green buildings that outperform non-green buildings. Occupancy levels are consistently higher, and vacancy rates lower, in sustainable office buildings.
Many architects, builders and clients agree that smart, sustainable buildings are becoming a necessity. Why? Because according to some estimates, buildings account for almost one-half of the world’s material and energy consumption, one-sixth of fresh water use, and a quarter of all wood harvested. As costs for sustainable materials and products drop, building green is really the most cost-effective kind of design and construction. More and more, you can’t afford not to build green.
We just returned from the inaugural TecHome Builder Summit. The connected home with conveniences like electrical plugs with built in USB charging ports are what is NOW! We learned that the homes of tomorrow must be connected to the web. Allowing the home owner to control/monitor many aspects of the home like the alarm system, cameras, light, electric plugs, sprinkler system, door locks, water leak detectors, smoke/CO detectors, garage doors, pet doors, and on and on. You can set scenes/scenarios that allow you multiple tasks with a push of a button; for example turn on your alarm system, turn off all your lights, close your garage door, lock all your doors, and turn on cameras. We now offer as standard a basic but expandable home automation system that includes an alarm system. The home owner can then add as an option any or all the features, or can choose to add at a later time what they want.
Many builders claim to build “Green”. Very few builders actually get their homes tested, inspected, verified and certified “Green”. At Pyramid Homes our homes are inspected by Energy Concepts, a third party “Green” verifier and a US Department of Energy “Energy Star” qualifier,Â during the crucial stages of construction. TheyÂ test our homes and air ductsÂ for air leakage. They gather data at each inspection and send it in to the NAHB Research Center for “Green” certification.Â Most of our homes rate “GOLD” per the Green Building Guidelines established by ANSI for the NAHB.Â Â All new homes, by code, must meet the Model Energy Code (MEC).Â This gives them a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score of 100. “Energy Star” qualified homes must score 85 or less.Â The lower the HERS score the more energy effecient the home. Our homes HERS score is typically below 55. So, at Pyramid Homes, we don’t just claim to be building “Green”, we back it upÂ with testing and certifications!
Most homes leak more than 30% of conditioned air into the attic. The simplest way to save on your electricity bill is to make sure that you seal up your ducts and furnace and make sure that your ducts are insulated properly.Â Keeping a clean filter also is an easy and inexpensive way to save on your electricity bill.
I just returned from the IBS.Â I went seeking knowledgeÂ for new products and better ways to run and market Pyramid Homes.Â There were many companies represented showcasing what they had to offer.Â It took a full day of walking around and talking with the vendors that interested me.Â There are a lot of innovation in appliances, making them “SMART”.Â Some of themÂ can now tell you what they need, whether it is a filter, adjustments, or service. They can learn your habits and program themselves accordingly. They now have electric plugs with built in USB ports for easier charging of your tech toys. Not new, but I also found resources for walk-in tubs/showers.Â Since we are in a retirement market, I think that this is a feature that some of Pyramid Homes customers will be interested in.
There were many educational sessionsÂ on anything you can imagine that has to do with home building. The most interesting thing that I walked away with is that ALL indicators say that we are at theÂ start of the next housing boom and that it should last 6-10 years.Â What that means to the consumer is both interest rates and pricing will go up.Â There is no better time to buy a home than right now!