Re: Cost of Building Green & payback when savings
From: dahako (
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 04:15:20 -0700 (PDT)

At both Eno Commons and Eastern Village, we employed professionals who gave us 
that information based on our site, climate, house design, etc.? (Plus, I think 
your HVAC choices may have payback over time based on lower power bills, but 
the concept does not apply the same way to counter tops.)

In both cohousings mentioned, we used geothermal heating/cooling.? Eno Commons 
is a mix of single stand-alone homes and paired townhomes.? Each unit has its 
own well and its own indoor WaterFurnace heat pump.? The homes are well 
insulated, have windows and window films designed to take advantage of their 
location on a long southern slope, high thermal mass in the floors and siding, 
metal roofs with ventilation that draws from the under-eave soffits out through 
a ridge vent, and good thermal isolation between the roof and indoor ceilings.? 
Robert Heinich can probably remember the consultant's name.? He was very 
helpful, and he has also done work elsewhere in North Carolina figuring out how 
to "green" affordable housing for not too much money.? We paid some attention 
to indoor air quality (mostly be picking low off-gassing finishes), but we 
stuck to mainstream market stuff for the most part because we wanted to control 
costs (though green costs are coming down now).? Oh, and we ultimately picked 
geothermal not for its energy savings, but because it meant a much quieter 
neighborhood, without air conditioning condensors or heat pumps outside each 

Eastern Village is a bunch of condo apartments in a single building.? We have 
geothermal here on a shared loop(s?) with each unit having its own heat pump 
and controls.? I don't know what brand our units are here, but they are 
definitely louder than our Water Furnace was.? Work OK though.? We are LEED 
Silver certified, just a couple points off LEED Gold.? We have an extremely 
high efficiency hot water system, lots of insulation, fancy windows, low VOC 
paint, real linoleum and bamboo flooring, a green roof (with gazebo and 
playground), and lots more I can't remember. Our construction advocate (aka 
owners' rep) was Stan Serson, and he also handled the set-up for LEED 
certification along with my neighbor Kara Strong and the green architecture 
team she works with (offices in the commercial side of Eastern Village.

Jessie Handforth Kome
Eastern Village Cohousing
Silver Spring, Maryland
"Where the flower boxes overflow with blooms and the courtyard is a green oasis 
full of kids and cats and neighbors."



-----Original Message-----
From: sally thompson <emptynestcohos [at]>
To: cohousing-l [at]
Sent: Tue, 29 May 2007 8:54 am
Subject: [C-L]_ Cost of Building Green & payback when savings

Can any of you suggest good websites that might give ball park figures for how 
much various components of green building possibilities would cost?  If that 
component would save energy or resources, how long it would take to pay 
back through energy or resources saved?  

If any of you can let me know which "Green" features you used and whether you 
think it was worth it, that would be helpful, too.  (i.e. counter tops made of 
recycled materials--did they cost a lot more & were they worth it?)

Would love to gain knowledge through your experience!  Thanks!  Sally Thompson, 
Empty-Nest Cohos, DE/PA

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