An article in today’s USA Today highlited the current trend in “green building” and energy efficiency home construction. In my opinion, AZ is way behind in this technology. In the desert southwest, where temperatures can reach 120 degrees in the summer, one would think green building and energy efficient construction would be a no brainer. Yet the production builders, with very few exceptions, continue to build energy sucking product instead of energy efficient product. There are only a few production builders in the Phoenix area who are building what can truly be described as a high performance home. The additional cost to insulate properly, install high performance windows and high efficiency HVAC systems is minimal compared to $500 power bills at least 3 – 4 months of the year. (It was still nearly 100 degrees in Phoenix this week.) When homeowners choose between being comfortable or making the mortgage payment, foolish as it may seem, they inevitably choose comfort. It is very likely that high energy bills are part of the issue with foreclosures at all time highs and one reason Arizona is in the top ten list for foreclosures in the country. Come on, builders, offer a better product. Mortgage lenders, come up with programs that allow for energy efficiency improvements that reduce mortgage payments. State and local governments, provide incentives to builders and consumers alike to encourage high performance construction. The immediate benefits would be dramatic, not to mention the snowball into other areas of life like health care, and potentially a boost in investment from the more available cash, It goes on and on. Let’s get with the program.
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