SWFL Custom Homes Blog
Benefits of Building an Eco-Friendly Home
If you’re not familiar with green building, the concept can sound daunting. Many people think that eco-friendly homes are expensive structures that include a lot of unnecessary bells and whistles. However, building a green home can actually make a big improvement in terms of the comfort, quality, and affordability of your life. There are some tremendous benefits that we always encourage residents to consider when designing a custom home.
Save on Energy & Water Bills
Building green is an investment that pays off. A lot of the material and appliance upgrades entailed will result in less resource consumption, meaning your household will have minimal energy and water costs.
For example, choosing energy efficient windows can dramatically lower your need for cooling and heating. The U.S. Department of Energy has determined that heat gains and losses through windows account for as much as 30% of a household’s air conditioning use. Compared to single-pane windows, energy efficient ones can save you up to $465 per year. They save anywhere from $27 to $111 over standard double-pane models. Households in warmer climates, like Florida, can expect to see savings at the higher end of the spectrum.
The EPA reports that air sealing a home can also reduce heating and cooling costs by 15%, while outfitting a residence with Energy Star Appliances can drop electricity use by 10-50%. Clearly, those who make a point of choosing green options wherever they can in their build reap the reward of minimal utility costs for life.
Secure a High Home Value
Offering enormous energy savings makes energy-efficient homes especially desirable at resale. In California, where the climate and housing market has similarities to ours here in Florida, a UCLA study found that homes with green labels sold at prices 9% higher than their standard counterparts. Green labels are issued by organizations like LEED and Energy Star, who require homes to meet a stringent set of eco-friendly standards.
Specific installations can also have a big impact on a home’s market value. Solar systems are a great example. Homes with rooftop solar installations typically sell for 4% more than comparable properties. The rule of thumb is about $20 of increased value for every dollar of yearly energy bill savings. Another is that homeowners can expect a $5,000 resale value increase for every kilowatt (kW) of solar installed. So for a home with a system that eliminates their $200-per month energy bill (about the Florida average), one could anticipate a value add of $48,000.
Many government authorities and other organizations offer financial incentives for residents to choose green upgrades for their homes. It’s possible to significantly reduce installation costs between the multiple rebates and tax credits available.
Solar once again serves as a strong example, given that homeowners can claim a tax credit for 26% (soon to be 30%) of their system’s price. In Florida, electricity providers like Duke Energy also offer rebates for other energy efficient installations, including $800 for attic insulation and $400 for energy efficient windows.
Enjoy Better Health
Perhaps most importantly, choosing eco-friendly materials and appliances for your home will have a positive impact on your health. Many of the building products that meet green standards minimize your exposure to harmful chemicals and other pollutants. Low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, flooring, and other materials are among them.
These are much safer than typical products because they contain minimal or zero amounts of toxic substances. Products with moderate to high VOCs have been known to cause symptoms such as respiratory irritation, skin rashes, and cognitive issues. Long term exposure can even damage your liver, kidneys, and nervous system. Choosing low-VOC alternatives won’t just help you meet green requirements for certain rebates and certifications, it will also help you protect your health and wellbeing.
Get Expert Help Building a Greener Home
Constructing a home with environmental benefits is certainly worth the effort, but you’ll need expert help to make it happen. A professional custom building team can help you choose the right features and make sure they’re installed in a way that maximizes their benefits.
At Capitol Homes, we’ve spent years helping Floridians craft eco-friendly homes that save money, stay cool, and keep households healthy. We’re happy to help you plan out your vision for your custom home with a green approach. Contact us today to set up a visit to our design studio and discuss the options available.