Green Wednesday: Mandating Green for $10 Million Homes

From on October 22, 2008 in Green Remodeling

Green codes are designed to reduce energy consumption and uphold sustainability. Many states, cities, and towns in the country are jumping on the bandwagon in an effort to turn our environmental crisis around for our generation and those to follow. That is a good thing, but after reading about new green codes in the Hamptons, I started wondering if government can go too far. How much does the burden really lie with individual choice to make changes? Hamptons home The new green code for the Hamptons mandates the construction of energy efficient homes and compels homeowners to heat their swimming pools with solar power. Unlike other states, this town’s green code ties the Home Energy Rating System factor directly into the size of the house; the larger the house the higher the required factor. Based on the average size house in the Hamptons, I wondered just how doable this mandate will really be for builders. Builders could loose incentives, estimated at about $1 million, if they are required to reach HERS factors of 95 or better instead of the average factors of 84 for a 3,500 square foot house, for instance. Granted, building codes are necessary to our housing industry. You can imagine how disastrous it could be without boundaries; but should there be mandated codes on items like swimming pools, luxury items? Green is oftentimes, expensive, as is the case with installing solar paneling. In the long run, it is worth the price, and I would think that the wealthier portion of our society can and are willing to pay that price. Not all homeowners agree. Some, like Steve Lopes, feel the law to be nothing more than a tax on them. Steve Lopes expresses in the local news section of, “My pool stays comfortable by itself. I think this law sets a bad precedent in terms of intrusiveness. What’s next? Are you going to tell us what kind of car to drive and what kind of food to eat?” Will government be able to or try to do that? Hybrid cars are a luxury to many of us. I wonder. The first green custom home in Southampton Village has already been completed. It is a five-bedroom house, made from recycled materials like wood, diapers, and soda bottles. Jerry Rosengaten is the builder and is very “green” conscience. He says the house easily meets the newly enacted and hotly debated green code and there seems to be no doubt that the 4.5 million dollar home will be sold. I would say that luxury green codes are not a bad thing; green codes are good for us all. If you have the money, surely you would want to use it to take care of the environment, arguably even more so than the average American. I think most every American that can afford to build a home or remodel one, wants to do their best in this endeavor. I wonder how well the Hampton’s codes will be enforced. We may see come January 2009.