Most homes today are built to minimum standards regarding health, safety, durability, and energy efficiency. While they may be attractive on the outside, they generally are not comfortable spaces in terms of heating and cooling. As a consequence, owners experience excessively high utility bills. They also tend to require a lot more maintenance resulting in another unnecessary expense. Finally, they often contribute directly to poor health due to the toxic nature of many of the common building products used in construction.
There are many reasons for these deficiencies but the primary reason is cost…. the less time spent on construction and materials, the less the cost of the home. However, the fact is that building homes (or buildings) to more exacting, state of the art, quality standards regarding use of energy, health, durability, and comfort, is just not that difficult. But, it requires, first and foremost, that we dispel the “old chestnut” that it will cost a lot more.
“Cost” is not just what is paid at the time the home is designed and built but must be considered over time. Future maintenance and energy costs …. not to mention health costs….must be considered. With better quality building from the start, these costs can be avoided or minimized.
Changing this viewpoint, however, may prove difficult. Luckily, many communities are instituting stricter energy efficiency requirements. But that is not enough. Much more will depend upon education in order for the general public to understand what actually is required to make a home more sustainable and of higher quality. Once that happens, customers will be able to make more informed decisions. The result: a home that provides quality living today and a sound investment in the future.
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