The Real Costs of Building a Green Home in Chicago
A lot of people are attracted by the idea of building an eco-friendly home but believe the green construction costs just don't make it a practical option for them. If you hold such beliefs, it's time to re-examine them.
Cost Over Time
Among the most important features of environmentally friendly materials is their greater durability. For example, a foundation solution like insulation slabs over crushed gravel protects homes from drainage, vapors, and termites. As an added bonus service life that can be two to three times longer than other options.
When foundations aren't stable and damage happens to basements due to severe weather or repeated exposure, it needs to be repaired (or even replaced). Not only does it mean another significant investment for the homeowner, it also means that more energy and raw materials must be consumed for the repair or replacement. There's also a greater chance the old materials will end up in a landfill site. Greater durability means a lower cost per year of use.
Greater Monthly Savings
Homes that are built to be environmentally friendly use materials that are engineered to conserve energy.They also have appliances that consume less. It's estimated that homeowners who live in eco-homes enjoy savings of as much as 65 percent on their utility bills. So, while there may be a slightly higher cost of building green homes, the savings over time will more than make up the difference.
The Cost of Building a Conventional Home
There may be a slightly lower initial cost associated with cheaper conventional homes, but their cost in other respects is significantly higher. With natural resources in limited supply, the cost to the environment of a home built using materials that contain toxic chemicals that are not recyclable and that they don't conserve energy is massive.
There's also a cost to your health associated with homes built using cheaper toxic materials. In a process known as gassing off, volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are released into the ambient air. Paint, certain coatings, and other materials used in conventional home construction are often the source of VOCs, and these harmful chemicals can reduce your indoor air-quality and represent a serious health hazard to you and your family.
In the final analysis, any higher cost of building a green home will come back in savings over the course of time, while the benefits to your health and the environment make the investment more than worthwhile.