Initial Costs Tips
The initial construction costs of building green are more expensive but long-term costs are typically reduced. There are also many ways to build green without significantly increasing construction costs:
Build on a lot within an existing neighborhood where all utilities are already available. Yes, city land is typically more expensive. However, when the cost of septic systems, wells, propane tanks and connections to electric service are added in, those cost differences can quickly shrink. Also, in most instances there will also be long-term savings in transportation costs and commute time.
Base structure design on standard material dimensions to reduce waste.
Design floor plan so primary living spaces face south for heating and day-lighting reasons and use light colored interior finishes for improved day-lighting.
Construction Costs Tips
And there are ways to build green and reduce construction costs.
Design a home smaller than the current average size of 2,400 square feet. The average home size was 1,400 square feet in 1970. At the same time, the average household size has declined from 3.1 people in 1970 to 2.6 today. At a cost of $100 per square feet, the average size home will cost $233,000. Reduce that size by just 500 square feet and you’ve saved $50,000!
Advanced wall framing where stud spacing is increased from 16 inches on center to 24 inches on center reduces the number of studs required by 1/3.
Centrally locate the heating / cooling system to reduce lengths of duct runs.
Again, start by taking time to think about what you’re building, how you’re building it and the impact of today’s decisions on long-term costs to you, your children, and your neighbors.