Debunkin Green Remodeling's Cost Myth

Mary Butler

If you ask anyone on the street which costs more: green remodeling or old-fashioned throw-away construction, you're likely to hear a uniform response. Being ecological costs more. Period.

It's a stereotype that has penetrated the public consciousness. And maybe, once upon a time, that perception was almost universally true. But as recycled -and earth-friendly materials and alternative energy generators, such as solar panels, wind mills and geothermal heat pumps gain in popularity, prices are evening out, especially when you calculate cost savings gained over time.

Green Remodeling: Dispelling Myths

The "all things green" website Ecomii recently posted a pros and cons of green building and remodeling article that pointed out several cost myths, as well as some other interesting often-overlooked tidbids about green remodeling and construction. The article's author, Eric Corey Freed, even went so far as to say, "People often ask how much solar panels will cost. I always tell them that solar panels are free. Why? Because, although solar panels will cost you about $25,000 upfront, after five to ten years, they pay for themselves."

Here's some more food for thought from Freed's piece:

  • A 2 percent investment in green building design can result in an average lifecycle savings of 20 percent of the total construction costs.
  • While using stucco or cement-fiber board siding might cost more, maintenance costs are less. When you choose a material with an integrated color, you can save thousands of dollars on painting.
  • You don't need to install solar panels to slash your heating and cooling costs--doubling the amount of insulation in your home can pay for itself in months--and sometimes even weeks. The U.S. Dept. of the Interior estimates the amount of energy lost due to poorly insulated homes is equal to 2 million barrels of oil wasted per day. Ouch.

"In other words, if we simply insulated our existing buildings, we could completely remove the need for Saudi Arabian oil imports," Freed said. Double ouch.

Maybe it's time to add some insulation--and brag about your cost savings to the neighbors.

Eric Corey Freed • The Pros and Cons of Green Building • • http://www.ecomii.com/building/cons-of-green-buildinghttp://www.ecomii.com • Economii.com

About the Author
Mary Butler is a Boulder, Colorado based writer and editor, who spends much of her free time remodeling an old house.

Search Improvement Project