Author Topic: Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?  (Read 5965 times)

takara159

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Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?
« on: May 04, 2013, 11:07:14 PM »
Good evening all

My wife and I have been looking at houses in our metropolitan area and a couple of super efficient "green" homes have really caught our eyes. Both of us being mustachian we like the idea of super efficiency for the cost savings that will arise. For privacy reasons we can't tell you where the properties are .  There is a rather large premium for these properties in the area they are in. We believe these properties to have a strong resale value cause of the greenness of them. The question to the group is do you think its worth the premium given all the features and potential energy savings .  Below is the list of the features of the properties:

Advanced framing
• Rough-ins for solar panel - we were thinking of putting panels on and then selling power back to the grid.
• Rough-ins for electric car hook-up - we are sticking to our existing car until the wheels come off before we consider this.
• Rainwater harvesting
• Cool roofs
• Rain screen siding
• Rough-in for Freewatt (advanced, efficient home energy solution)
   Fresh-air purification systems with HEPA filter
• Low-VOC   interior paint
• Bamboo and recycle porcelain tile flooring
• Recycled glass tile and low-carbon cement countertop
• Energy Star appliances 
Four to five bedrooms
•Three bathrooms
•Two-car garage
•Master suite with spa-like bath
•Main-level master
•Bedroom or entertainment room
Covered front porch
• Open floor plan
• Interior Zen garden foyer
• 2,100 to 2,350 square feet
• Soaring 9&10-foot ceilings 
Additional notes:  The properties are situated within biking distance of grocery stores. Major bus lines to both metro areas are within a few blocks or a short bike ride. The properties are technically in the 'burbs

Would love to hear peoples thoughts

Thanks
« Last Edit: May 04, 2013, 11:13:36 PM by takara159 »

Left

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Re: Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2013, 11:23:30 PM »
what about that underground pool cooling system? forget the name? And a wind turbine too, I got a house near me with a fan and a solar panel and I've asked the owner, he can keep house running when the power lines go down without using a gas generator. Not too sure how a "cool" roof would fit in with the solar panels on roof though (if you are putting them there). Could even make a "solar" water heater too if you plan to go overboard.

anyways, are you building the home or remodeling for this? And for all this work, do you plan to retire into the home? I mean how much would all this cost if you wanted it? I've no idea, but from the looks of it, it should be costing near what the home would cost without all of this

takara159

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Re: Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2013, 11:37:14 PM »
We would plan to build this, its a private contractor who builds only when they have a signed contract. The properties go for about $650k which is about 75 to 100k above other brand new conventional houses in the area.
We were primarily looking at the resale value on this as we probably wouldn't retire here and were thinking that the energy savings and the money we would receive from the grid would be worth the higher price tag.

Dynasty

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Re: Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2013, 12:41:56 AM »
I'd be cautious of any builder advertising bamboo flooring as green. The process to turn bamboo into flooring is pretty caustic to the environment.

Red Oak or Maple, grown in the US, is about 100x greener than bamboo.

meadow lark

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Re: Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2013, 05:57:36 AM »
You would have to live there a pretty long time to make $100,000 off reduced utility bills!  I'm very green, but I think this is a waste of money at this price point.  And selling will be harder if you try at $100,000 higher than a comparable house.

happy

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Re: Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2013, 06:45:58 AM »
I tend to agree with the others.  I think its  a marketing ploy: yes there is a market in my area for "green" features, but you are paying a lot for them, and although the resale might be there, I'm not sure you will get a bigger re-sale next time round, the most you can hope for is to recoup costs.  The greenest solution is to have a smaller house  eg do you need 3 bathrooms? Spa bath? Interior zen garden thingy?

Mrs WW

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Re: Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2013, 11:42:32 AM »
Consult a LEED-certified architect in your area and see what they could do for you instead of buying this quite large spec house. I'm an architect with experience from both the US and Europe, so if you want more input feel free to pm me!

Your description of the house sounds like a normal house with some very inexpensive "upgrades" to justify the hefty premium. I see nothing about insulation or heating system. I don't know how many people you are in your family, but it sounds like a big house, which in itself is not very green. Three bathrooms takes a whole lot of high energy material to build, so maybe make do with 2 1/2? I also find it somewhat ironic to build a green house with a two car garage, which I assume is heated.

If you truely want a green lifestyle in a new home I would concentrate on going custom, smallish efficient, highly insulated, passive and active solar, and don't forget beautiful! and keep your cars in a carport, with motor heaters in winter if your climate is cold.

Good luck with everything!

MountainFlower

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Re: Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2013, 12:10:28 PM »
Where's the super efficient part?  No mention of insulation, heating, cooling, etc.   Does it face south?  What about the windows?  Is there any radiant mass for passive solar? 

What is green about a spa-like bath, zen garden, or soaring ceilings?  This sounds like a total rip off.  As somebody else said, cheap upgrades (roughing in a hookup for a car) made to sound better than they are. 

I mean really, can you even buy appliances that aren't energy star these days? 

Jamesqf

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Re: Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2013, 12:29:32 PM »
Honestly?  I'll echo what others have said: about the only really "green" thing I see in that list is the cool roof.  The rest seem like feel-good stuff.  And unless you're an NBA player, how are 9-10 ft ceilings remotely "green"?

I'd suggest reading a few books on passive solar design (the cheapest energy is the energy you don't use), and look at some of Sarah Susanka's (I think that's the spelling) books about "The Not-So-Big House".  You could probably build something that's both more energy-efficient and more comfortable to live in for a good bit less.


Dynasty

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Re: Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2013, 04:42:57 PM »


If you truely want a green lifestyle in a new home I would concentrate on going custom, smallish efficient, highly insulated, passive and active solar, and don't forget beautiful! and keep your cars in a carport, with motor heaters in winter if your climate is cold.


Or! a home that has already been built. The greenest building is generally the one that has already been built. It would be interesting to see the energy payback period of an existing average house, compared to a brand new house built with "green" in mind.  A lot of energy inputs go into the production and transport of the materials used in a house.

mlipps

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Re: Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2013, 07:32:43 PM »
2100-2400 square feet is a LOT of house!!! That alone doesn't seem very green to me.

Nords

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Re: Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2013, 12:43:47 AM »
"Rough-ins" for photovoltaic panels?  What does that look like?  Got a link or a photo?

I'm familiar with the idea of selling power back to the grid, but most utilities only credit residential PV owners for the power consumed, and might carry an excess balance for up to a year.  If you want to become a power producer then you'll need a much larger array and you'll probably pay a feed-in tariff.  You might be in an exceptionally enlightened area where the electrical utility has its customer's best interests at heart, but I'd strongly recommend learning the vocabulary and the rules before you expect to turn a profit on PV.

Otherwise you're looking at a 6-10 year payback on your grid-tied PV investment, and after that you'll have (mostly) free electricity.

As for the rest of the home's features, I think you're being upsold.  They're good features but you need to analyze the payback on them before you buy.

Mrs WW

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Re: Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2013, 04:35:37 AM »


If you truly want a green lifestyle in a new home I would concentrate on going custom, smallish efficient, highly insulated, passive and active solar, and don't forget beautiful! and keep your cars in a carport, with motor heaters in winter if your climate is cold.


Or! a home that has already been built. The greenest building is generally the one that has already been built. It would be interesting to see the energy payback period of an existing average house, compared to a brand new house built with "green" in mind.  A lot of energy inputs go into the production and transport of the materials used in a house.

But off course! Even with buying an already built home you would benefit from consulting with an architect to help you get what you want from your house and property. I know that I saw a TED-talk on this subject once - a physicist I think - who had calculated the energy pay-back time on remodeling an existing house versus new construction. I'll post it here if I can find it!

Mrs WW

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Re: Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2013, 02:11:54 PM »
I found the Ted-talk! I recommend it to everyone!

http://www.ted.com/talks/catherine_mohr_builds_green.html


BPA

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Re: Super Efficient Green Home worth it ?
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2013, 02:27:38 PM »
I'm not high tech or anything, but I've tried to buy/make my house more energy efficient.  Here's what I did:
1.  Bought a small, semi-detached two storey house with no high ceilings.  Semi-detached houses require 20% energy to heat.  Each floor is 600 square feet and compact.
2.  Planted deciduous trees near the south side of the house so that they shade the house in the summer and when they lose their leaves allow the sun through to warm it up in the winter.
3.  Heavy curtains keep heat out or in as required. 
4.  Hammock under a big maple tree is a divine place to chill out in the hot weather.

Here's what I plan to do:
1.  I need new insulation.
2.  I may install photovoltaic panels if I decide to stay here after I retire.
3.  When the central air kicks it, I may replace it with two or three portable units which should cool rooms off quickly, but can be turned down easily if we are not in those rooms.