Re: Cost of Building Green & payback when savings
From: Robert VanderWouden (
Date: Tue, 29 May 2007 07:47:28 -0700 (PDT)
There's a group of use in Waterloo Ontario that are currently
visioning our community.

At present we all seem interested in incorporating green features, but
the affordability debate may be our limiting factor (the exact
definition of affordibility for the purposes of visioning is still a
work in progress).

We've recently brainstormed a list of "green" technologies, with which
I hope to perform a TCO (Total cost of ownership, evaluate payback
term and total operating costs) analysis of each and compare them to
traditional housing models. I will happily share whatever results we
come up with.

In the meantime I would be interested in hearing comments and other
pros/cons regarding any of the standard green technologies (passive
solar heating, grey water recycling, etc) and anyone's thoughts on
up-front cost and payback periods. I believe there are a lot of other
non-financial considerations for each.

Does anyone know of any resources that compare green housing
technologies? Generally I find resources (books etc) that preach the
benefits of one technology, but as yet I haven't found a comprehensive
comparison. Along with this TCO comparison, this may be an oppurtunity
to compile such a guide.


Robert "TCO of everything" VanderWouden

On 5/29/07, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> wrote:

On May 29, 2007, at 8:54 AM, sally thompson wrote:

> 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?)

Even though we had a bad installer and have been correcting our
system ever since we put it in, I would still go with geothermal
again. Use Water Furnaces, most reliable and best performing
according to all our sources here. We  have Florida heat pumps that
are okay but not great, although Bosch has just bought them so that
may be a good sign.

Also we just found out that it is better _not_ to put in a well for
each unit. Better to have several water wells connected to a manifold
so water from all the wells is used by all the units. That way when
one well dies, you can just do without it.

Otherwise, it is hard to measure, on an individual basis, the value
of green in terms of use once you are built.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing

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