Q: Is Green or Smart Building a gimmick?

A: When we are bidding homes with prospective clients we will run into this question. Often builders will under bid the job with the desire to get the job based on price. They then will add costs to the job as the job progresses. The other bidders will claim that we are higher because of our Green or Smart building techniques.

The truth is that our Green or Smart building techniques will run only about $8,000 to $12,000 more than a code built home. We have spent years developing our recipe so that we can make it affordable to our clients.

All of our homes get an independent third party certification for Green or Smart building techniques. Our last three homes tested received a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) score of 48, 49 and 50.

These homes averaged 3957 square feet. The average energy bill projected is to be $ 126.00 per month. That includes heating, cooling, hot water, lights/appliances and service charges. Do the math on your own homes. You can see what we are doing works and works well.

The 2012 Washington State Energy Code is the minimum of which is required to build a home. This is year 2014. The code will be adjusted in 3 year cycles. Next year builders will see the code improved. The code requires an 8.75% improvement per cycle. The code has improvements preplanned through the year 2030. I tend to think if you are going to build you need to build forward. Why build a home in 2014 to a code established in 2012. Think about when you might sell the home. What will be the energy code requirements be in that year? Your home will actually compete with new homes in that year which you sell.

Manufacturers like Owens Corning (an insulation and sealant company) are spending millions of dollars in research and development in finding ways to protect the building envelope from the outside elements.

I would suggest that Green or Smart building is no gimmick. Protect your investment by learning and applying the best strategies that we know now.

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

Next week I will discuss about improved wall structures for higher energy efficiency.

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!