Re: Cost of eco building
From: John Beutler (
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 16:08:10 -0800 (PST)
At Liberty Village, we have what is called ground-assist heat pumps. They cost about $6,000 extra for drilling a well for each unit. I suppose in different areas of the country the costs of drilling the well might vary a good deal, though in our part of Maryland wells are not considered sure things. The well water is used as a heat exchange source for the heating and cooling system, in combination with a heat pump. In contrast to the typical heat pumps, there is no heat exchanging unit outside, so no fan noise at all, as you would normally have. The air conditioning is essentially free for the cost of circulating air and water. With heating you heat from the 55 degree ground water temperature with electricity. The overall cost is VERY low. We pay $120 per month to heat, cool, light, do hot water, etc, for a rather large unit - half of a duplex with three aboveground floors and a finished basement. Of course we have good insulation, windows, but nothing too exotic. If you compare this to the cost of heating our previous (old) house with oil, even at last year's prices, it's night and day - I highly recommend investing money in this type of system if it's suitable for your area.

There was a lot of debate when this was proposed but it was a very good move.



At 07:58 AM 11/11/2005 -0500, Mlj45 [at] wrote:
We are a newly forming co-housing group in Ulster County New York, and we
are currently in the design stage. We are discussing the costs of "building
green", installing solar, geo thermal, etc... We are wondering if anyone has any
information about balancing out the initial costs of building green, versus
how  long it might take to get back the initial extra investmant in energy
savings. We know, of course, the value of building green, but need some feed back
on the  financial part. Thanks, Lynne James, Ulster County  Co-Housing
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John Beutler
Liberty Village, MD
jbeutler [at]

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