The Economic Benefits of Owning a BPC Green Home are Increasing
Particularly in Connecticut and New York
Building, owning and living in a green home built by BPC is not only good for the environment, it’s very good for your bottom line.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about the economic benefits you may hear. Some based on old, outdated information. Some myths just plain wrong.
Myth: Building a high-performance green home always costs a lot more to build than a conventional home. Fact: BPC green homes can cost about the same as a conventional quality built custom home. A BPC green home can cost a little more than a conventionally built home. However, you can also spend more on a conventional home if you decide to add on extras.
Myth: Investing in a green home provides you with little to no real economic benefit. Fact: The economic benefit of building a green home today can be very dramatic, especially ones built by BPC Green Builders.
Myth: It takes a long time to get a decent return on your investment when building a green home. Fact: With today’s green homes from BPC, your return on your investment will be larger and faster than ever before.
The reality is that today it really pays to build, own, and live in a green, high-performance home.
The cost of building a green, high-performance home does not have to be higher than a conventional home. If you decide to invest more up front, to build an extremely green, super energy efficient and very high-performance home, your savings will be higher and your payback will still be surprisingly quick. Here are just some of the ways building and owning a high-performance green home makes a great deal of economic dollars and sense!
Energy Cost Savings
A green home meeting the EPA’s ENERGY STAR requirements is designed to save up to 30% on energy costs. The newer and higher DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program builds upon the ENERGY STAR standard. It also requires “that a renewable energy system can offset all or most of (the home’s) annual energy consumption.” DOE Zero Energy Ready Home requirements are the minimum standards to which BPC now builds. Prior to this standard being available, our least energy efficient homes were designed to meet or exceed the EPA ENERGY STAR requirements.
The Passive Homes (PHIUS) BPC builds can reduce your energy use by up to 90%. This means you will be using (and paying for) only 10% the energy of a conventional home.
Beyond Energy Savings to Net Zero Energy Cost
Net zero homes are designed to reduce your home’s use of energy to less than the amount of clean energy your home’s system produces. The excess clean energy your home produces can, in our area, be put back into the grid. Currently, the local power companies generally pay you for the power you send them in the form of credits to offset any power you may draw from the grid up to the point you reduce your electric bill to zero.
In the future, possible energy income
In some areas of the country, clean power that homeowners generate can be sold to the power company, and the power company must buy the power. This can totally offset the amount of energy you might buy from them resulting in no net energy costs.
Your home will need to generate enough clean energy to completely offset the power you may draw from the grid. Anything above this would result in the power company paying you for your home-generated power. At the moment, power companies in our area only credit you up to the cost of power you buy draw from them. Future changes in our area’s regulations could lead to you being able to generate income from the clean energy you generate.
With the costs of energy today for a conventional home and the direction energy costs typically go over time, the savings that BPC green homes can offer add up to significant dollars monthly, yearly, and over the time you live in your home.
Marginally More, Equal or Lower Costs to Build Your Home Green
Green building methods don’t always cost more. In fact, some methods reduce the cost of home building. Green homes often require less framing materials and associated labor costs than conventional building practices. High-performance heating and cooling systems can be smaller and less expensive.
BPC homes control humidity often without the need for humidification systems, eliminating those costs. Savings from these can offset the costs of enhanced levels of insulation, improved air, and moisture infiltration control and controlled ventilation with heat exchangers.
One principle in green building is to build smaller. At BPC when we build smaller it doesn’t mean you get a lesser home. You may have heard the design concept that “Less is More”. With proper design, smaller can be better. But, when building large is needed, BPC uses green building methods that still can keep building costs in check.
Some green homes can cost more to build than some conventional homes. But the marginal increase in building cost is very often for the components that further increase the longer term savings from reduced maintenance and energy use. This means your marginal investment is repaid quickly and you start reaping the ongoing savings they provide even sooner.
Lower Cost of Home Ownership
Besides some green homes costing less to build, there are other ways green homes can lower your cost of ownership. Most people know that BPC Green Builders homes result in dramatically lower energy costs. Even as low as zero net energy costs. (In the future, with some changes to local regulation, perhaps even income from selling back the energy your home may generate.)
The green building and building science practices BPC uses include using more durable, longer lasting building materials and assemblies. Many require less maintenance than their conventional counterparts. This all results in less time, effort and costs to maintain. They also need to be replaced less often, if at all.
The way BPC builds homes virtually eliminates costs associated with ongoing active radon mitigation. Our homes virtually eliminate future costs associated with mold, mildew and other moisture problems. For most homes we build, humidity control does not require traditional humidification systems. This eliminates their initial costs and the ongoing costs of maintenance, supplies, and their periodic replacement.
We very carefully engineer heating and cooling systems so they don’t constantly cycle on and off. Excessive on/off cycling is a major cause of increased costs for more frequent repairs and premature system failures that require system replacement. BPC’s engineering reduces repair costs and the costs of avoidable system replacements.
Improved Resale Appeal
Over time, what were once considered fringe green building methods have become mainstream building approaches. No one builds homes today that don’t incorporate some amount of energy-saving products, systems, and construction techniques. However, most homes being built today are using far lower energy-saving and other green standards that will likely be commonplace in the future. So in the future, it’s logical that a home built today using more energy efficient and green approaches will be more appealing and saleable than a home that is not as energy efficient.
Just think about this. Unless you are an antique car buff, you wouldn’t consider buying a car today that got the gas mileage of a car from 15-20 years ago or that needed leaded gas or had no audio system or air conditioning. Would you?
A 2019 study by Zillow showed that in the New York City area, green homes with solar panels sell for 5.4% more than comparable non-green homes. The percent increase in resale value a green home with solar panels sells for varies across the country.
Higher Return on Investment (ROI)
The return on investment or ROI on green homes is generally higher than the ROI on conventional homes. The longer you live in a green home, especially a zero energy green home, the higher ROI you will have compared to a comparable non-green conventional home.
Healthier Homes Can Provide an Economic Benefit for Some
BPC homes are built to be healthier to live in. For some people with certain conditions, living in a healthier home may result in helping reduce costs related to those conditions. For example, for people with breathing problems, certain allergies, or chemical sensitivities, living in a healthier home may help reduce the frequency and severity of medical events that require medication, treatments, and extra trips to the doctor or ER. Beyond those ways you may see a financial benefit, missing fewer days of work and your kids missing fewer days of school (which may result in you missing fewer days at work) should be considered.
“We were surprised and delighted to find in Mike Trolle, of BPC Green Builders, a local builder who not only gave us the kind of house we wanted, but helped us figure out what that was in the first place. His ideas about what a house needs — and doesn’t need — were invaluable. He even helped us find an architect whose ideas were in sync with ours.”
Tom and Stacy, Westport, Connecticut
“We found your expertise in building science to be of great help in planning the project and in the selection of appropriate equipment and materials. BPC’s management of the subcontractors and communication with us always met our expectations. Moreover, BPC was conscientious and ethical in all aspects of the work. We would be pleased to recommend BPC without reservation.”
Christine and Monte, Bethany, Connecticut
“As architects, it has also been a sincere pleasure to work for Mike. He is an extraordinary client who has been able to utilize our skills and experience. The working relationship that we have developed is based upon trust and confidence, and has been tested by the realities and trials of construction.”
Thomas RC Hartman, AIA, Coldham Architects LLC
“BPC is in the forefront of this commitment. Our company has benefited from our professional and personal interaction with Mike and Chris Trolle. From client introduction to final walk through, the drive for total customer satisfaction is clear.”