It seems that “green building” is the hot topic these days. Everywhere you look it is touted as the way of the future and everyone is claiming to be a green builder. There is no doubt that we, as builders, need to advance the available technology that exists and design and build better homes. There are many that are doing this but also many that are jumping on the bandwagon because they feel it’s the thing to do.
It is my feeling that due to the economics of our times, a new trend will emerge and green building and technologies will play a major role in this movement. Homes will be designed smaller but better suited to the actual needs of the owners — rooms and spaces that are fully utilized with less open and wasted spaces. This in turn will create homes that require less in terms of heating and cooling because they are physically smaller. These homes will also make the best use of better insulation in the home’s shell to minimize heating and cooling requirements. Remember when you bought the cheap thermos because it cost less but threw it out because it wouldn’t keep things hot or cold for very long? The same applies to your home.
There is no doubt that we, as builders, can build green homes - homes that use less energy and are easy to maintain and totally usable in their living spaces. Think of how the spaces in your home are actually used and ask yourself if you really need a 20 ft. by 20 ft. bathroom or a bedroom that is the size of most living rooms from the ‘70s.
So will this trend last or will it fall by the wayside?
It will continue and advance but there also needs to be a far greater education program geared toward the consumer. Consumers have heard that building green is good. It’s good for them. It’s good for the environment but I don’t believe they understand it. What makes it good? What makes it “green”? Do they truly know or are they just spitting back what they hear in the media? The consumer needs to be fully aware of all of the advantages and thusly they will have a full understanding of the added costs and benefits.
Whenever I approach potential buyers and open the discussion toward green building and energy efficiency, the response is almost the same: “We love the idea of green building and energy efficiency but how much more will it cost?”
If home buyers did understand the additional cost and huge benefits they gain, would they want to build any other way? They wouldn’t have it any other way if they are educated buyers from the start. Yes, that’s our job too.
We would love to hear what you have to say so don’t be shy.
Todd Vendituoli has been a custom builder/remodeling contractor since 1984. He operates Todd Vendituoli Construction, West Burke, Vt. and KV Construction in Eleuthera, Bahama. Both companies build new energy efficient homes and all aspects of remodeling for existing homes.