As a green Realtor and builder in Albuquerque New Mexico, I often get asked the question if its possible to buy an affordable green home. The prevailing assumption is that building green is much more expensive to build than a conventionally built home. My answer to that is yes, and no. It really all depends on how many "green" features are included in a home. Of course, if the home includes a full photovoltaic system, 12 inch walls with top of the line insulation, all clay walls, no-VOCs in every and all products used, and features ammenetis that might be considered luxury or high end, then sure, the price per square foot is going to run higher than a traditional stick built home. Studies do show that green home typically appraise for more than 15% higher compared to a more conventional built home.
However, it IS possible to still find an affordable build green, energy efficient home. For example, it really does not cost any more to orient a home facing South to reap the amazing -free- benefits of passive solar heating. And the cost of flooring can be reduced by staining and sealing the concrete slab, calling that the floor, and utilize it as thermal mass. All homes have some windows, so why not make sure they are placed to best create cross ventilation. Making sure all windows and doors are properly weather-proofed is a given (and should be expected in any and all homes!). As far as paint and VOCs go, you can even purchase no or low-VOC paint at your local hardware store. To save money and increase energy efficiency, install CFL lightbulbs. To conserve water, use high pressure shower heads and landscape with native plants (and for those here in New Mexico, that means planting with low-water, drought-tolerant vegetation). Really, the list of affordable - this just makes logical sense - steps a builder and or homeowner can take can go on and on.
If you are in the market for a home near and around Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and Edgewood priced between $100,000-$200,000, and want it to be green and energy efficient, you will be happily suprised to see that there are currently over 10 green homes for sale listed in the SW MLS. Visit my website at www.albuquerquerealestateandhomes.com to learn more about exciting, affordable opportunities to go green!