A couple of years ago, I wrote up a short piece about a Zero Energy Home being built here in town, and I made this observation about the price:
[T]he target price is $199,000, which is on the high side for a 3-bedroom, 2-bath house with 1650 square feet, but the energy savings should compensate for that.
It won’t happen overnight, of course: the payback period is measured in years, and anyway we have rather lower real-estate prices here than prevail in, say, the Twin Cities:
Peter Lytle has gone to extraordinary lengths to set an example. To show other people how to live in harmony with the environment and lighten their footprint on the Earth, Lytle has spent more than $1 million to buy and revamp a 1948 Minnetonka rambler as a “green” home.
By equipping it with four kinds of alternative energy and the best available insulation, windows and indoor air system, he has made it a lesson in how to operate an ordinary home with far less energy and expense.
Far less energy, no doubt. But “far less expense”? Let’s ask Chad the Elder about that:
Let’s see, they invested about $685K (at least) in making the home green. But remember, the water and energy bills will [be] a fraction of a traditional home. According to this Energy Analysis, the average annual energy costs for a home like this in Minnesota would be about $3200. Throw in another grand to cover water (easily) and you’re at $4200. We’ll bump it to $4500 just to leave a little wiggle room.
Then, just for fun let’s say that this new green house completely eliminates all energy and water costs. In that case, it would only take ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-TWO YEARS for the homeowners to recoup their costs.
I believe the technical term for this is “cost-defective.”
Of course, the buyer didn’t do all this to save money: he did it to set an example for the rest of us poor slobs, which is far more important in the long run, right?