Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Green Building: The Homes of Tomorrow



Green Building: The Homes of Tomorrow

Until early 2006, individuals that invested in properties, commercial and residential, were able to make positive returns.  Tiffany Speir, Executive Officer of The Master Builders Association (MBA) of Peirce County, noticed that homebuyers at this time had confidence in the value of their home and overall job security, but wanted ways to increase the equity in their home.  These homebuyers were more willing to invest in a newly constructed environmentally friendly home, or make comparable upgrades to an existing home to cause the price of their home to appreciate.
 Since the collapse of the housing boom home prices have been slowly recovering.  However, environmentally friendly construction has not recovered on par with the overall housing market.  Tiffany Speir recounts that even in 2010-2011 the green building market was “very slow in Washington [State]” even though “Washington [State] is one of the leaders in green building across the country.”  This trend points to the challenges home owners face when considering the various commitments associated with green building.
Committing to building green means being willing to invest heavily in the upfront cost of construction.  Even though home builders have few issues with building green homes, they lack buyers that are willing to pay for such a home.  Homebuyers are aware that, with a sluggish housing market, they may not make a return on their investment any time soon.  Nevertheless, builtgreenwashington.org is quick to point out that “Some green products are more expensive, but as most choices become available, prices are coming down. In addition, many green building practices can actually reduce your costs by reducing waste and encouraging efficiency [sic].”
Even with all of the challenges to building environmentally friendly homes there are many successful contemporary examples.  One such example is the EnviroHouse located at the Tacoma Recovery & Transfer Center in Tacoma, Washington.  Part of the Mission of the EnviroHouse is to “…educate and encourage residential builders, developers and residents to adopt resource and energy efficient products and practices in their homes and gardens.”  Janda Volkmer, EnvioHouse Coordinator, recently gave a tour of this environmentally friendly home.  This tour demonstrated how the landscaping, exterior materials, and interior d├ęcor of a home can be constructed utilizing recycled materials and renewable resources.  Homes like this prove that creating an environmental home can be safe, clean, economical, and reduce its carbon footprint.

Additional Reading and Information:
Built Green Washington - http://www.builtgreenwashington.org/
Built Green Peirce County – http://www.builtgreenpierce.com/
Master Builders Association of Pierce County – http://www.mbapierce.com/
EnviroHouse, City of Tacoma – http://www.cityoftacoma.org/envirohouse/