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Cheaper Homes Cost More to Build

By Dan Chiras 


Tags: green building, green homes, cheap homes, Dan Chiras, The Evergreen Institute,

Energy-efficient Home2 

As I travel the country, talking with builders, architects, homeowners and ordinary citizens about green building, I’m continually confronted with the issue of building cost. The standard response to my talks is “Your ideas on green building are all well and good, but, bottom line, they cost more and people aren’t going to pay more for a green home.”

My standard reply to the conventional logic is, “What people have to understand is that it costs more to build a cheaper home.” 

What I mean by that is simple. The cost of a home isn’t the price you pay when you sign on the dotted line. That is, it is not the cost of the mortgage. The cost of a home is the cost of the mortgage and the utility bill plus maintenance and even health costs.

By building a super energy-efficient, healthy, durable green home, you may increase the mortgage, but you’ll dramatically lower the utility bill. You’ll lower maintenance costs, and could even reduce health costs.

Ultimately, by building such a home, you’ll pay less — a lot less.

And, of course, the corollary is that it costs a lot more, in the long run, to build a cheap home. You may save a little on the mortgage by purchasing a cheaper home, but you’ll pay an arm and a leg in the long run.


Above: By building a super energy-efficient, healthy, durable green home, you may increase the mortgage, but you'll dramatically lower the utility bill. Photo by James Plagmann, HumaNature Architecture.

Contributing editor Dan Chiras is a renewable energy and green homes expert who has spent a lifetime learning life’s lessons, which he shares in his popular blog, Dan Chiras on Loving Life. He’s the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and president of Sustainable Systems Design. Contact him by visiting his website or finding him on .

pat miketinac
1/26/2010 9:27:46 PM

Another consideration is the ever increasing cost of insurance and rebuilding after a claim. Most earth shelter designs are virtually fireproof, tornado and hurricane proof, which is one of the reasons I built one here in Florida. We do have insurance, but it is a fraction of what our neighbors pay. Also great peace of mind knowing we can stay put during a storm. Comfortably, too, with no power, due to the 72 degree ground temperature.