4 Myths about Net-Zero Homes

For the most part, net-zero homes continue to occupy a niche market in the building industry. Most potential home buyers have an understandable fear of investing in sustainable housing trends such as net-zero housing. Below are 4 pervasive myths associated with net-zero homes that upon closer inspection demonstrate that there is NO excuse NOT to go green.

1. Net-zero homes are unaffordable

This is probably the primary issue of concern for prospective net-zero home buyers. Yes, the initial investment required for a net-zero homes is usually higher than that of traditional homes. In a place like Austin, Texas, the purchasing price of a 2000 square foot home will typically be 15-20 percent higher than that of similarly sized traditional homes. While this may appear like a considerable chunk of money, home owners must bear in mind that this money translates into superior building materials, assemblies, and techniques which result in more efficient and more durable buildings.

Each superior component of the building, in turn, offers incremental savings compared to traditional products, which when taken as a whole, deliver quite a financial windfall over time from reduced life-cycle, operating, and maintenance costs. Considering that monthly electric bills continue to rise on average 5 percent a year (in 2006 electric bills nationwide jumped more than 10 percent), the initial differences in initial cost can be recovered rapidly through energy savings. In fact, residents of particularly sunny regions may actually see a profit from their net-zero homes as they produce an excess of energy that is fed back into the energy grid. When choosing homes with eco-friendly intentions, the consumer is choosing to build in a way that pays back over time. In fact, with 30 percent federal tax credits on sustainable technologies, now is the best time to invest in a net-zero home

2. Net-zero homes are difficult to maintain

This myth is directly related to myth #1. Part of the appeal of green homes is the significant reduction of life-cycle replacement and repair costs. For example, Native, offers an eco-friendly metal roof that lasts a lifetime and requires negligible maintenance. While it is true that net-zero homes also employ a number of complex technologies such as photovoltaic panels, the seemingly daunting task of regulating all these systems is greatly diminished with monitoring systems easily accessible via the internet.

3. Net-zero homes are only for ardent environmentalists

A recent Yahoo! Real Estate study found that 50 percent of 1,545 U.S. adults polled said being green is a requirement of their dream home. According to a McGraw Hill Market survey report, residential green construction has skyrocketed from 2 percent of new homes in 2005 to 17 percent of new homes in 2011. The same report found that 61 percent of customers are willing to pay more for homes that are energy-efficient and have other green features. This shows that when the option is available and financially feasible, most Americans would love to live in an environmentally friendly abode.

4. Net-zero homes are ugly

This argument is probably the weakest of all. Many net-zero homes may exhibit certain characteristics – such as exterior solar panels – but in general net zero homes can be made into virtually any sensible shape, style, or design. A well-made building that honestly responds to its environment displays a kind of authentic aesthetic and independence of spirit that is beautiful in of itself.s about Net-Zero Home