As a green real estate pro with his antennae up listening for “green” in the community, I hear a lot of divergent opinions on the subject.
From those in the professional homes community, I hear things like “Nobody wants that/it doesn’t sell/it’s more expensive, so why should I waste my time/money?”
From those invested in green ventures, the song is quite different, as one can imagine.
And sometimes, going green “just because” is something only those with the resources to do so can pursue – that wouldn’t be me, and I doubt it’s you. So what are we left with?
I reject the baby/bath water perspective of the naysayers. I also have problems with those who would tell me to go green regardless of the extra cost – we’re living in reality here, remember?
We in the Geoghan household have been talking and working toward finding room for our family to “grow into green.” For example, we spent a considerable amount of time last year working through a remodeling project in our home.
For some elements of the project, a “greener” approach just made no financial sense. In other elements, green alternatives were readily available and priced competitively to the box-store (and certainly contractor-installed) products.
We find ourselves working through this process looking for ways to choose progressive alternatives while keeping our feet firmly grounded in our ability to afford different options.
It’s my opinion that this is how the greener homes movement will survive and thrive in a tough economy. Manufacturers need to promote their wares better – it’s ridiculous how much Internet research is needed when I could just walk into Home Depot and examine five nongreen alternatives with my hands.
Distributors (yes, including box stores) need to aggressively identify the sustainable products they carry and package them for conscious consumers.
For example, just last night I found at Lowe’s an LED 6-inch recessed light kit for $50 by Sylvania. In the meantime, I’ve been looking online at obscure retailers for a similar product costing at least $90.
On another note, I found that cork flooring, which we had planned to incorporate, is readily available at a number of local retailers and that prices vary enough to shop around. Who’d have thought it?
So, as homeowners and businesses get the itch to upgrade, replace and remodel, I would encourage us all to look for room in our personal goals and personal budgets to “grow into green.” The end rewards for our homes and families are worth it.