Does it cost more to build Green?

I believe that having thorough knowledge and experience in sustainable building practices, products and systems is required to help provide an answer.

Five years ago Lake Country Builders made the decision to become a sustainable builder. Since then we completed three Minnesota Greenstar Certified projects, the most certifications awarded to a builder in Minnesota.  We are a Certified Green Remodeler (CGR) and I recently accepted an invitation to be on the Board of Directors of Minnesota Greenstar.  Our “Green Journey” have allowed us to fully engage sustainable building in both remodeling and new home construction. It also allows me to provide my perspective on the question posed.

If you start from the base of a “standard” home or remodel project with basic finishes I believe one can achieve a fairly comprehensive sustainable project, with many green features, for the same “upgrade cost” most folks want.  For example. If a buyer or owner wants to upgrade to a good tier of granite or marble countertop, a more exotic wood floor, better plumbing fixtures and a good tile allowance, I would say that you can purchase and install sustainable products that are recyclable, reclaimed or locally sourced for the same cost.

 The sustainable products could include:

 –          Soapstone,  granite or similar counters from  remnants that are available at the showrooms

–          Concrete counters available in a variety of stains

–          FSC ( Forest Stewardship council) flooring sourced from local suppliers

–          Dual flush toilets and hand motion faucets or foot petal

–          Recycled content Marmoleum or rubber flooring

–          Recycled content Ceramic or porcelain tile. Some are made with recycled metal.

–          Recycled pavers

 Other decisions might be

 –          Use Low or no VOC paint with little or no off-gassing  vs. standard paint

–          No formaldehyde in your cabinet materials

–          Rain garden in your landscaping vs. allowing rain water to wash into the city sewer

–          LED lighting

 The answer is in the choices one makes. The options above could average out to no extra cost on any project. Some products might be more and some will be less to install. So it’s a choice.

 Think about sustainable building, healthy living and teaching your children the eternal value of those choices. You can help the world be a better place – one choice at a time!

 Peter W Jacobson  CGR, CAPS


Lake Country Builders