It’s Easy Living Green
(ARA) - Everywhere you turn, there’s something “green” – whether it’s a commercial for a hybrid car or a reminder to pick up reusable bags at the local grocery store. The green movement is under way and concerned Americans are looking for ways to do their part to reduce energy use and pollution, and preserve natural resources.
Whether by changing their daily routines like biking to work instead of driving, or taking up a new hobby like planting trees in the community park, more and more Americans are going green. One aspect of the multifaceted greening of America is the building and buying of “green” or eco-friendly homes.
According to a recent survey conducted for McGraw-Hill Research and Analytics, consumers list environmental concerns among the top three reasons to purchase a green home, along with lower operating costs and health benefits for occupants. Across the country, homebuilders and homebuyers are realizing the benefits of green building and living, from reduced construction waste to better indoor air quality. Homes planned by green developers can also reduce utility bills by more than 50 percent, minimize pollution and demands on infrastructure, and provide greater environmental protection.
“It’s amazing how small steps can add up to big results,” says Fred Maas, president and CEO of Black Mountain Ranch LLC, the developer of Del Sur – a new green 1,800-acre master-planned residential community in San Diego, Calif. “For example, tankless water heaters are as much as 50 percent more efficient than conventional water heaters – and heating hot water is second only to heating and cooling in terms of residential energy use. If every household in the United States converted to high-efficiency, tankless water heaters, America could save the equivalent of 300 million barrels of oil a year and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to 150 million tons.”
Similarly, replacing just one light bulb in each American home with an efficient compact fluorescent bulb could save enough energy to light more than three million homes for an entire year. This could save more than $600 million in annual energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to removing more than 800,000 cars from America’s roads.
Residents of the Del Sur community are learning firsthand the advantages of green home features. Del Sur used its unique size and buying power – 2,500 market-rate homes and 469 low- and moderate-income homes – to negotiate lower prices for solar, tankless hot water and weather-based irrigation systems, making these energy-saving, environmentally-friendly features more affordable for homebuyers.
“All things being equal, homebuyers want to go green, but they don’t want to pay a fortune to do so – and they shouldn’t have to. Our vision of sustainability is to integrate a core set of ‘attainable’ green elements into our homes that do their part for the environment and increase value and savings for the consumer,” says Maas.
By providing homebuyers with green features at lower costs, homebuilders can help to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint and preserve the environment without putting all of the burden on the homeowner. By taking advantage of available tax credits and incentives, it is possible to equip homes with solar photovoltaic technology to generate electricity at a reasonable cost, greatly reducing homeowners’ electric bills.
“Our homeowners with solar power can draw power from the grid at night and make the meter spin backwards during the day,” says Maas. “Some have cut their electric bills to nearly zero. When homeowners realize the savings, they really get a kick out of showing their new energy bills to neighbors and friends in the community.”
“When I see American families living the Southern California lifestyle in 3,000-plus-square-foot homes with gourmet kitchens and all the latest appliances – and their monthly electric bill is close to zero – I know there’s no barrier to America going green,” says Maas. “We’re doing it here in San Diego and I think that, community-by-community, the entire nation can go green.”
Courtesy of ARAcontent
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