Price Of Going Green, More Thoughts

Here are some additional things I picked up from national publications about the costs associated with going green at home. The sad thing about what I read is that it seems that, once again, the media can’t give us useful information without sensationalizing.

Consider using ratings standards such as Energy Star and the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) point systems to help you figure out the costs and benefits. LEED has historically been used in commercial building but it’s making its way into residential with projects right here in Boulder such as The Walnut condo project.

Here are some product comparisons I’ve seen in the media recently and some of my comments. You decide if it gives a true perspective on your choices for going green

Windows:

WeatherShield windows use coated Zo-e-Shield glass to block UV rays and save energy: 3-by-5-foot double-hung window uninstalled, $417. Standard insulated 3-by-5-foot double-hung window: $345.

  • Many of us get hung up on what we think we know about windows and their R-Value and what might meet our needs for energy savings and comfort. There’s a lot of mystery in windows and noting that a window is ‘double-paned’ isn’t always enough. Consider having a home energy rater test the windows or get the straight data from the manufacturer to see what really meets your needs. I’ve been in homes with fairly new double-paned windows that didn’t appear to provide much insulating properties at all and then others that were almost warm to the touch on a frigid, snowy day.

Flooring:

EcoTimber flooring is woven bamboo grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers: $6.00 per sq ft, un-installed. Standard bamboo flooring: $2.00 to $3.00 per sq foot, un-installed.

  • Bamboo is very trendy right now and I’m seeing it in many high end homes, including many new construction condo projects around Boulder in the last few years. It’s durable (stands up to use as well or better than traditional hardwoods like oak and maple) and is a quickly renewable resource. Using an alternative to traditional hardwoods can already give you an edge in your quest for a ‘greener’ product. I guess you have to decide if the pesticide / fertilizer issue is critical to you.

Insulation:

BioBased soy-based foam is sprayed on attic floor or ceilings; 1,000 sq ft installed, $2,650. Standard blown-in insulation: 1,000 sq ft, $800 – $1000.

  • The soy-based foam may be attractive to some homeowners just as anything with ‘soy’ included in the name makes some of us think enviro-friendly. First step to improving your home’s comfort and energy efficiency is to make sure that it has enough insulation of some kind. However, the most often overlooked aspect of attic insulation is checking and correcting any issues with how well the space is sealed from the living space. Traditional construction methods rarely include sealing the spaces where walls, ceilings and attic spaces converge. This allows heat to escape from the living space which reduces comfort and increases home heating costs. Consider making the sealing process part of your mandatory insulation program before you get hung up on the product used for insulation and you’ll probably get a great ROI from your work.

Comments

3 Responses to “Price Of Going Green, More Thoughts”

  1. Rich on April 14th, 2008 12:13 am

    I like the bamboo flooring…It’s become quite popular in S. Florida and I’ve considered using it in my next projects. What is $6.00 a square foot?!? Down here, that would be somewhat cost prohibitive unless it was quite a high end home.

  2. Zachary on April 14th, 2008 7:15 pm

    Yeah, that’s not the traditional bamboo found in most home improvement centers like Lowe’s etc. That’s EcoTimber flooring is woven bamboo grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Thanks for your comment!

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