Q: Does Building Green High Performing Homes cost more?

A: Most of our competitors would answer a lot more.

Change is hard. It is a whole lot easier to say it costs too much than to really learn to make a change in building habits.

Consumers are getting educated. And fast.

Locally, Clark PUD has done an excellent job educating builders to build to the Energy Star standards. Earth Advantage (a Portland, Oregon non-profit) has certified over 14,000 higher performing homes. They are second in the nation to do so. – The Washington State Energy Code now requires a stronger approach in building homes that save energy. The Department of Energy has a goal for new homes built by the year 2030 that they meet net-zero standards (homes that are self-sufficient). It is similar to the car manufacturers having federal or state guidelines to meet miles per gallon (MPG) targets.

What is interesting is how fast this all is happening. Everybody knows what MPG means. It is a common measurement for automobile efficiency. What is the measurement for homes?

The Federal Government, and the State of Washington use HERS (Home Energy Rating System). In the Portland area, Earth Advantage is promoting EPS (Energy Performance Score).

In evaluating cost to build it took us several years to learn how to build green high performing homes. I use a simple measure—if a technique or product will provide a return on investment of 20% or better, we will make it standard in our homes.

I find once consumers are educated on the benefits of how we build, it is easy to see that building high performing green homes is building smart.

I also enjoy reading the paper daily. Thank you for doing so.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girod on 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am. See you next week!