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Thread summary:

Green products: solar panels, wind generators, Energy Star appliances, LED bulbs

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Old 03-06-2008, 10:22 AM
Noc Noc started this thread
 
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I personally like the whole green idea and wish green products where more mainstream than they are now allowing prices to be lower. Products like solar panels and wind generators. These things seem to just work from a science point of view.

Why aren't more houses being built with these products added to roofs and siding? With the glut of home on the market how many of them have these incorporated in them? I'm not even talking about EnergyStar appliances and LED bulbs. Why aren't regular non McMansion homes being built with solar panels and mini wind turbine on the roofs? Why isn't there a gov't mandate to have some form of renewable means of energy on all new construction?

Do you think green homes would sell faster in this economy rather than regular homes with incentives like cars and flat screen TV in every room, marble and cherry cabinets etc...? I know some homes are selling with these but they are the custom built ones.

If all these new homes on the market at least had some form of renewable energy solution they would be giving power back to the grid while they sit.
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Old 03-06-2008, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Southwest Missouri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noc View Post
Why aren't more houses being built with these products added to roofs and siding? With the glut of home on the market how many of them have these incorporated in them?
Very few homes have these features because very few buyers demand them. The sad truth is that 90% + (guesstimate here) of home buyers would opt for granite counter tops, crown moldings and custom cabinets long before they'd spring for energy efficiency. They want features that they can show off to their friends and neighbors, and utility bills aren't much in the world of bragging rights...yet.
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Old 03-06-2008, 11:54 AM
 
Location: The Big D
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There are some in the Dallas area. There is one somewhat small development being built w/in the Dallas City Limits (short commute downtown) that has smaller homes that live large that are "green". Then in one of the FARTHEST reaching burbs to the far north there is a "tract" builder building some smaller "entry level" type homes that are "green".

The problem I see with either of these from what I've seen is:
1. The one w/in the city and a better match for a true "green" living person if they work downtown is just flat out the style of the houses. I've looked at them and they are....... well, cracker box kinda looking. They look like any home that some "goofball" would have built in the 60's and 70's promoting the same thing...... living cleaner w/ less resources. The designs and layouts were VERY POOR and are the types of houses one would see in an architecture/design TEXTBOOK from the 60-70's. There is just no "inspiration". They did not even plant trees on the properties! THAT can be a HUGE benefit here for the summers.

2. The one way out in the far reaches of the "northern tundra" might as well be in Oklahoma. If someone buys one of these and tries to go around saying how great they are for saving the earth but then commutes in traffic for 2 hours EACH direction........... think again. THAT is not being "earth friendly". They also look like very low end tract homes and are crammed up right on top of each other w/ very little yard. Again, that is another biggie around here. With all of that concrete and no green space it can create dangerous floods. Not to mention the HEAT from not having any green to help keep things cool or trees to create a breeze and give the house some shade and protection from the summer sun.

From what I've seen neither of these are doing wonders nor are they having people beating a path to them. I can see why. I live in what some might consider a "McMansion" but we have lots of trees that help keep the area cool and the house shady and cool. We also watch the thermostat, keep lights off not needed (my husband is a bat I swear), don't water when it is not needed, plant drought tolerant & native species of plants/flowers, etc. I'd love to do more w/ something else but there is nothing out there that can be used in a community setting that would not take up our entire yard.
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Old 03-06-2008, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Northglenn, Colorado
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at least 50% of the clients that come through our office for design work are adding a minimum of a solar array to the roofs, our builders building spec homes are adding these as well as perks of the home. It is working its way into the market, but the prices are still a tad on the highside to make it mainstream.
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:06 AM
 
Location: Milord
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Here is just one example in Connecticut of a builder choosing to built energy efficient homes ---http://www.connecticutbuilder.com/ As utility bills rise, it will become THE feature buyers will be looking for in a home. I am always asked by buyers for a homes heating and electric costs... We have only 3 (I believe) towns in CT that generate their own electricity although cheaper to consumers it is not so environmentally friendly with its emissions. What are you seeing in your areas??
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Old 03-07-2008, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Northglenn, Colorado
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We have tons of solar arrays being placed on roofs, with the efficiency of the newer arrays, you do not have to have ugly boxes installed on the roofs anymore. There have been a few wind generators installed, but the solar stuff is how things are shaping up in Colorado, We have an incredible amount of sunlight per year, which makes them very very good for this area
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Old 03-07-2008, 03:10 PM
 
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Hey Noc,

That is a pretty good question and topic. I am an engineer who does design and build work in this field. With rising energy costs, I am expecting to see as many folks driven out of their houses by the utility bills as by the ARM resets. Maybe not really, as one can live without electricity and/or gas, but it looks grim ahead.

I agree that the home builders are about as (non) responsive to this as the US auto makers are to their market. They seem to have the perfected the ideal product for 1985 and are just continuing it. One part I have to call bs on is some of the ideals of what constitutes "green." Those who wish to direct this part of the "green" market have come up with a somewhat goofy scoring system where you get "points" for local sourced items, and other aspects that have little to do with the energy aspects you are discussing. As you started upfront, the real deal that makes it work or not is the money. Zero utility biills at the end of every month make a fair amount of trim-out to whatever someone's tastes in that area might be very cheap by comparison.

Specifically as to the "why" no solar and no wind -- from what I see around here (Dallas) in the 'burbs are two things -- various city governments and HOAs. Home Owner Associations are probably the number 1 deterent to retrofits of a house to a house being Net Zero Energy (term for the ideal you described of shipping power up to the grid). It is so bad around parts of the Greater Dallas area, we just consider them RE (renewable energy) wastelands to pass over.
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Old 03-07-2008, 03:38 PM
 
Location: Northglenn, Colorado
3,689 posts, read 10,414,394 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip T View Post
Hey Noc,

That is a pretty good question and topic. I am an engineer who does design and build work in this field. With rising energy costs, I am expecting to see as many folks driven out of their houses by the utility bills as by the ARM resets. Maybe not really, as one can live without electricity and/or gas, but it looks grim ahead.

I agree that the home builders are about as (non) responsive to this as the US auto makers are to their market. They seem to have the perfected the ideal product for 1985 and are just continuing it. One part I have to call bs on is some of the ideals of what constitutes "green." Those who wish to direct this part of the "green" market have come up with a somewhat goofy scoring system where you get "points" for local sourced items, and other aspects that have little to do with the energy aspects you are discussing. As you started upfront, the real deal that makes it work or not is the money. Zero utility biills at the end of every month make a fair amount of trim-out to whatever someone's tastes in that area might be very cheap by comparison.

Specifically as to the "why" no solar and no wind -- from what I see around here (Dallas) in the 'burbs are two things -- various city governments and HOAs. Home Owner Associations are probably the number 1 deterent to retrofits of a house to a house being Net Zero Energy (term for the ideal you described of shipping power up to the grid). It is so bad around parts of the Greater Dallas area, we just consider them RE (renewable energy) wastelands to pass over.
wow, speaking of the "green" point systems, I design homes in Colorado, Boulder county, and boulder city has a few systems to get the houses to pass. It is as much green as a red truck sitting at a red light. There are some very usefull green items that are in the lists, but the overall goal of these systems is to limit growth in the area. In boulder you have three systems in place. Green points (yes thats what it is called) Rescheck, and a new system called sars? (something to that affect)

you earn points for using specific materials (which some materials are only sold by two vendors here, can we say cutback?) both the Green points and the Sars list have the same materials, but you cannot use the same materials to get points in both systems. You are required to get a set number of points with the two main systems based on the square footage of the home to be able to get your permit. So, in short, you have to ballance out the points, lower the square footage to be able to pass the buildng for construction. IE a way to limit the size of homes without calling it that.

In the City of boulder you can no longer do swiming pools that are heated with standard electricity, they MUST be heated using solar arrays, which adds a minimum of 20,000 to the price of the pool.
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Old 03-07-2008, 08:39 PM
 
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Default Hard to Buy if they don't exist

I'm currently shopping for a home in Illinois-- which is one of the only states that hasn't enacted energy-efficient standards for new residential construction.

Check this out:

Pringle Creek Community

If this existed where I was buying, I'd pony up the cash in a heartbeat!

The closest thing to it out here is Prairie Crossing-- where you can buy a house without knowing whether your kids will be able to go to the local school, because it's on a lottery system. No thanks.
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Old 03-07-2008, 10:56 PM
 
Location: Tucson
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We have some in Tucson. The original community, Civano, is well-known nationwide and has been around for quite some time - Community of Civano in Tucson, Arizona : UnSprawl Case Study : Terrain.org. I just moved to my house, which is part of Phase II (built by Pulte) under a new legal name - Sierra Morado. Here you can see efficiency stats and details: http://www.civanoneighbors.com/docs/..._2006-2007.pdf

I haven't seen any bills yet, so can't share personal experience at this time. I believe the guarantee for my house was $1.10/day for heating or cooling (it's a small house - 1,448 sq.ft.; all electric). Of course, nobody tells you what temperature they have in mind... We have solar heaters, too. They switch to electricity need be. Plenty of sun around here... gotta use it!

Other builders in town advertise green homes as well, but I'm not sure of the quality of all of them, since one is even KB... Pretty sure Pepper Viner will do alright, though, since they're a very respected builder in town and North Ridge is also part of Civano - Congresswoman Giffords to Speak At Green Expo - Newsroom - Inside Arizona Business with Dana Cooper
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