Why don’t we build better houses?

Green Phoenix is based on the idea that homes are long-term investments that need to keep up with the latest in building technology. Efficient, airtight, and healthy homes are better for everybody: the occupants, the community, and the planet. A recent article in Fine Homebuilding examines the obstacles to building homes that substantially exceed code and provides some interesting observations. Though the concept of Green Phoenix developed many years before this article was written, the article reaffirms many of the reasons Green Phoenix seeks to be a different kind of homebuilder. To comment on a few:

  • Total cost of ownership: our energy models predict that this house should use less than 50% of the energy of a similar code-built home, and with solar panels installed will only need to buy about half of that energy from the grid.   That represents a significant long-term cost savings over the ownership of the home.
  • Inaccurate appraisals: Massachusetts is a leader in solar PV installations and there are many good techniques to ensure the systems are valued properly. We are fortunate to live in a state where the number of appraisers who have received training in valuing high-performance homes is growing
  • Our values: Green Phoenix exists because my own experiences led me to believe that it’s possible to build better, more efficient homes without sacrificing quality or architectural character.

High-quality homes should last a hundred years or more, and the best time to “future-proof” them is when they’re built; improving efficiency, air quality, and durability is a worthy goal even if the building codes don’t require them.