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When you’re planning to build a new custom home, it’s easy to focus on your upfront expenses and costs of construction without thinking about your ongoing costs once the home is built. These operating costs of your home are equally important, and have huge effects on the lifetime return on your investment and on the health of the planet.
Today, anyone planning a new custom home should think high-performance from the start. You have an incredible array of options including eco-friendly construction materials, solar electric power systems, energy efficient windows, and on-demand tankless water heaters. Making these choices means that your new home will greatly reduce your energy and water use. High performance homes are healthier, smarter for the environment, and a great long-term investment.
High-performance homes support the health of our environment by consuming less energy, conserving non-renewable resources, and reducing your carbon footprint while maintaining a high quality of living and lowering your monthly utility bills. By using the most advanced design and technology available, your home will be beautiful for decades to come, and you will not have to pay high utility bills.
You may be surprised to learn that conventional homes are inefficient and often waste energy. Energy – in the form of electricity, gas, and water – goes toward keeping heating and cooling, as well as keeping showers hot, lights and utilities running, and your lawn green. The cost of energy is rising rapidly—and not just in dollars. Our environment is also paying the price: non-renewable energy consumption, carbon emissions, and pollution. In the United States, 48% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings.
In contrast, the thoughtful design and quality construction that go into building high-performance homes make them today’s highest energy standard, consuming 90% less energy than conventional homes. High-performance homes achieve this extreme energy efficiency by minimizing energy losses and optimizing internal energy gains.
Bottom line – extreme efficiency in construction and design makes the operating costs for a high-performance home far lower than the operating costs for a conventional home.
A family that chooses to build a conventional 3,500 sq ft home in a northern California neighborhood will likely pay about $83/month in electric bills alone. That means that if the average cost of electricity doesn’t rise (which is unlikely), that this family will have spent $29,880 on electricity alone in the 30 years that they required to pay off their mortgage!
Conversely, a family that chooses to build a 3,500 sq ft high-performance home pays only $30/month on their electric bill, after spending just 7% more to have their home built ($337/sq ft). When this family finishes paying off their mortgage, they’ll have spent only $10,800 on electricity. That’s 64% less than the electricity cost of living in the conventional home!
And these savings only relate to the power bill, not to mention the other cost-related efficiencies of high-performance construction like water conservation, California Solar Initiative rebates, and state and federal tax credits.
With an annual rate of return of 7%, a high-performance home is a sound investment. And, according to a recent study, a 4.5-kW solar system increases a home’s property value by $30,000 on average – so energy efficiency components actually add to the value of your high-performance home.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to save money on your custom home project and reduce your carbon footprint, call Clarum Homes at 650.322.7069