Q: What does it cost to build green?
A: In the long run, you will save money by building green.
Making the 1001 Emerson demonstration house green cost
4.5% more to build. This cost, however,
will be recouped in less than ten years because of lower
utility bills. To minimize the up-front cost of green
building, include environmental objectives
in your project as early as possible.
> See the analysis.
Q: How hard is it to build green?
A: Most of the materials are exactly the same as non-green materials.
An FSC certified 2X4 is no different than a 2X4 taken from a
clear cut forest. The photovoltaic system is designed and installed by a subcontractor specialist
in the same way we would hire a subcontractor to design and install an internal vacuum system.
> See the framing.
Q: How hard is it to maintain a green house?
A: All systems in a house require routine maintenance, e.g. the
greywater system's filter needs to be cleaned of lint and large particles once a year.
The photovoltaic system is "net metered" which means there is no onsite electricity storage;
the local utility supplier acts as the storage system.
Q: Why can we make a difference?
A: Every social change begins with individual actions. People learn
from real time models of change. The pressure of the consumer voting in the marketplace
with his or her dollars is a proven vehicle of change.
Q: Why does using recycled materials on a little kitchen renovation make a difference to the environment?
A: A huge portion of construction materials is used even in small projects.
Whether recycling an old sink or using non-toxic finishes, you can provide another
model of a healthy future for the next generation.
Q: How much do you save longterm/shorterm?
A: All of the systems are evaluated based on initial (capital) cost plus
life cycle cost vs. savings. Materials reused and recycled may be cheaper than new ones;
and a few extra dollars spent on energy efficient windows will pay for themselves, in this time
of escalating energy charges.
Q: Can it be done in less expensive homes and commercial buildings?
A: Production housing and other large volume construction projects
retain the potential for great economy of scale advances. The purchasing of large quantities
of sustainable materials can only help bring prices down.