Green housing fundamentals
Apr 13, 2012 / 5:00 am
With such a precarious economy I canʼt help but wonder what will be the advancement for green technology in the housing sector and what the motivation will be to employ some of that technology in new builds. There are a few motivations for looking at green technology and naturally, one of them is caring for our environment and protecting what we have for future generations. The other is financial.
Whilst we will always have an underlying desire to protect the environment, the financial consideration is rapidly going out of the window in my humble opinion. With energy prices being so low in BC in particular, one has to wonder why the various green energy options would draw your attention when building a new home unless you are accessing government financing programs or grants.
The geothermal industry for example is maturing very rapidly and it is in my opinion one the greenest steps a homeowner can take. The cost of a geothermal upgrade or new installation can easily be rationalised by looking at financing costs compared to predicted energy savings. Several years ago the math was very simple as the price of natural gas was a lot higher, today the math is a little more complex as we struggle with what I believe is artificially low gas prices and that makes that green decision just one step further away.
While changing light bulbs from tungsten to more modern forms of lighting may show fast and tangible savings, other energy changes must draw on a deeper desire to “save our planet” which is admirable and important.
As we begin to cycle out of the world slump in the economy I would certainly expect a faster turn over in research and development in the green home sector, but the practical application has to begin to show tangible savings to the consumer as well as benefits to the planet before there will be tangible applications in the every day home.
It may be fine for multi millionaires such as Al Gore to talk the talk about green energy and carbon footprints, but to cover up a gross use of energy by simply purchasing carbon offset credits in an attempt to stay green is simply a waste of money in my books. We should be striving to look for cost offsets as well as carbon offsets and I believe it is possible, with for example financing to purchase geothermal upgrades that are offset by the savings that can be yielded in the future.
Let's hope so.
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