Building Green

Anyone using any environmentally friendly building products or producing an alternate energy for their properties? I think we’ve pillaged enough of the earths resources and could get by just fine by recycling whats already been extracted.

I’ve heard of apartment buildings that are being built with solar panels that act as the roof. These panels are fastened directly to the trusses, completely weather proof, and pay for themselves in 5-8 years. After 5-8 years you could still be charging tenants for electricity only the money would fill YOUR pockets. Not only that, but on really sunny days, you can sell the excess energy (above recharging several days worth of batteries) to the power company.

Big cumbersome energy companies aren’t in any hurry to make their billions of dollars of equipment become obsolete by switching to clean energy. We all know how fast the government moves. What are individuals and small companies doing to clean up the mess? Using my fortune teller skills, I believe every building will eventually be producing there own power in a few generations.

Opinions please…

A while back solar panels could never pay themselves back due to excessive cost to purchase them and abundant cheap electricity. (Might take 20 yrs to pay back the initial cost and by then they are probably shot) Nowadays solar cell cost is steadily dropping due to increased efficiency in the manufacturing cost. Electricity costs continually rise, in my state we saw a hike last year of 50% with a hike of 25% for this year recently approved. As these numbers move closer and closer to one another the idea seems better and better.

Hi Danny!

We have friends who just finished building their $4Million house GREEN - new construction. Here’s the scoop:

They did get their plans through the city faster than regular built homes. The city gives them top priority for building green. Big whoop.

They went way over the building time frame mainly because of INSPECTIONS! Ahh, the city is still gonna get ya one way or another. They had 15 additional inspections which they are VERY strict on. So they went over their buidling time frame by 6 months!!! costing more money in interest payments on the construction loan.

The cost to build green here runs 20% above normal costs and UP for GREEN materials!!!

Most people do not care if the house is GREEN or not when purchasing - mainly because most houses here are very energy efficient anyway.

It’s a gorgeous home - but if and when they resell - the GREEN part of building it will probably not bring them anymore GREEN in their pockets.

For the sake of argument, about how much would a solar roof cost? I’m getting the shivers just thinking about how expensive it must be… :cry:

15 additional inspections and 6 extra months, WOW. I’m surprised that inspectors even know what they’re looking at and the city has written codes for green products.

What kind of “stuff” did your friends use? Unfortunately, the environmentally friendly building material manufacturers suck at making their products cheap enough and as well advertised as mainstream products. Eventually, a smart person will come along and make the products cheaper as the materials are far more adundant, occur naturally, and rejuvenate quickly.

I’m one of the few people who would pay more for an intelligently built house. As long as people smoke like chimneys and drink like fishes, they won’t care about the damage they cause to their environment. >:(

I’ve heard numbers as low as $500/ room. There is a huge difference in the quality and effeciencies of the various products so it’s difficult to get a reasonably accurate estimate. The size of the battery also makes a big difference. In AZ or NM the battery would be smaller opposed to the North where it’s either raining or snowing often. I’d also think in snowy areas you’d need a heater to melt the snow and ice off the roof. Lots of variables…

Hi - To Danny … our city is in the forefront of GREEN BUILDING. The inspectors are very experienced and savvy to green building. There is a whole city department devoted to it. My friends home is not expensive totally because of green building, but because it’s 7000 sq. feet and is “loaded” and in a ritzy neighborhood. They built the whole house green from wood to roofing to everything inside. I live in Scottsdale, AZ. You can look up their green building philosophy and codes. They even have meetings every month for people interested in building green. I’m sure it’s online. For me as a builder, I wouldn’t build a spec green home. It is very hard to sell to the general public and I’d need to have pretty savvy people looking at the extra cost and appreciating it.

To Thoward … As for a “solar roof” … what do you want to use the solar power for? You can heat water very cheaply these days with one solar panel. I had solar hot water 20 years ago. I’m not sure what you want to do with a solar roof.

There is a difference between a passive solar houses and green building.


Do you know the names of any of the manufacturers of the products that your friends use? I’d really like to start using better materials in my rehabs but can’t find good manufacturers with prices near what the other junk costs. I’d also like to investing in these companies to help get the ball rolling to introduce these products into the mainstream

Scottsdale really does appear to be at the forefront, they even have community college classes on green building. I’ll be reading all of the articles on, thanks for the great resource. Eventually green materials will be as common as building a house with plumbing and electricity. Now environmentally friendly products have the negative connotation of being a tree hugging , tofu eating, hippie kinda thing.

Hi - Yes, I will see what I can get from our friends. I may be seeing them this weekend or sooner.

If you have cable or satellite TV - the new show about Ed Begley, Jr. and his environmental lifestyle had a guy on it who does green investing only. I can’t remember his name but I thought it was very interesting.

The thing about our area for green building - you can green build by using some items, but in order to have an official green built home here - you need to do it according to the City. We’ve gone to several green building meetings and they are VERY interesting. People bring their products and demo them. I’ll see what I can come up with for you.

I think it’s great that Scottsdale certifies properties as being green. I’ve printed the Scottsdale’s “Mandatory Requirements for Residential Green Building” as a guideline for my rehabs. I wouldn’t be able to feasibly integrate everything in a remodel but it’s something certainly worth shooting for I think.

Never heard of Ed Begley, Jr., what’s the show called?

Thanks for all the info!

I was recently watching one the real estate “flip” shows and the flippers were an ecofriendly husband and wife from California. She was the treehugger and he just went along because… well she’s the SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed)
Anyway she had plans for all kinds of energy saving stuff in her flip. When the bill came due she axed 90% of the projects and settled some trivial B.S. to save face on tv.
Unfortunalty It was incredibly expensive, thier heart was in the right place though.

I saw that one. It wasn’t only that the bill was to large, the solar panels were to take over a month and I think their deadline was only a week or 2 away. The eco tiles were axed due to cost though.

The jury is still out on solar - you still have to charge batteries, and anyone who has a cordless drill - should be everyone in this biz - knows that the batteries last only a few short years. Then the problem is not only the cost of new batteries, but how to dispose of the spent batteries and their toxic metals. This is one of the big problems with Hybrids right now, but you’ll have to search long and hard to find the info. Can’t have that sort of info spoiling our band-aid on a broken arm approch now can we?
The truth is - if you build or remodel a home to current conventional specs, you are creating a very energy efficient home.

I agree offroad. The solar industry has a long way to go. Solar panels opposed to wind generators are much less cumbersome and therefore would make it easier for each house and building to produce their own power. This way in a heavy rain storm and tree limbs fall on power lines, your not sitting in the dark. I’d rather pay my money to the Wal-Mart of solar cell manufacturers than a profit hungry energy company that doesn’t mind telling their monopolized customers they will be facing a 50-100% increase in prices. Personally I think cordless power tool companies design their batteries to not last long so they can charge double the amount for the unique battery in a few years…

For large power companies, wind generators are the way to go. They are very simple and cheap to make but companies like GE still charge an arm and a leg for them. I’d really like to see farmers in the flatter areas of the country allow power companies to put huge wind turbines on their farms. The foot prints might take up a 15x15 foot space but the farmers would still have plenty of clearance to run their harvesting machinery under the blades.

People say wind turbines are ugly therefore they discourage tourism. I tend to think smoke stacks pouring a cloud of toxic coal burning smoke is slightly more unattractice. Energy efficiency is the band-aid for the broken arm. Energy companies might have to burn less material as a result but large scale mining and burning is disasterous to the ecosystem. Cost effective renewable energy will make someone the next Rockefeller.

My state has a clean air option for electric, costs about 1.5 cents per kWH more though. All electricity you buy through the program is from clean air sources like wind and solar.

Are they state owned sources or a combination of smaller private companies? The technology is still so much in it’s infancy right now to make it cost effective. Consumers are more concerned with their bank account than breathing…

Here is the FAQs:

The 2 available clean air options are 2 diff private companies, the main power company is also private…nothing state owned.

<<Never heard of Ed Begley, Jr., >>

He’s a far left-wing Hollywood type…(therefore not to be trusted)


No one ever liked Kerry, they just dislike Bush a little bit more…

I’m originally from Massachusetts…“Kerry is scary”…!

It’s a terrible thing to be the most liberal politician in Massachusetts and not be a Kennedy!

My wife is a “yellow-dog” Democrat and when she starts on Bush, I just remind her that he beat the Democrat’s “best and brightest” not once, but twice…doesn’t speak well (or bode well) for the party as a whole…