Energy-Efficiency and The Cost of Home Ownership

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Mortgage crisis?  Interest rates?  Housing affordability?  When lenders look at the cost of owning a home, the big four expenses they look at are PITI—Principal, Interest, Taxes (as in property taxes), and Insurance. The real cost of home ownership is more than this, though.  And they really ought to look at a fifth expense, one that like taxes can be significant and tends to go up rather than down.  You should be looking at it, too.

What is this mysterious fifth expense?  Utility costs.  The costs to heat, cool, and provide electricity to your home can be significant.   These costs are almost always more than insurance.  They’re often more than property taxes.  For some, monthly payments for gas (or oil or propane) and electricity can be $300, $400 per month, or more.  And trends are that utility costs are going up, up, and up.

Unlike your property taxes or your insurance costs, however, you can have a big impact on the utility bills you pay. You can ignore them, and they’ll climb.  Or you can take control, increase the energy-efficiency of your home, and reign in those costs.  Relatively easily, you can make improvements to cut your total energy use by 25% (GreenHomes guarantees savings of at least 25%). With more effort you can cut them by 50%, 60%, or more.  Add renewables like solar, and push toward a zero-energy home and maybe even sell energy back to the electric country.  Less than zero?  Try that with your property taxes!

While you slash your utility costs, you can make your home more comfortable.  You can increase our energy independence.  You can reduce carbon emissions.  You can show that you’re smarter than the lenders who pretty much ignore utility costs.  And with the crisis we’re in right now, acting smarter than some of the more slippery mortgage lenders looks like a pretty good thing.

Mike 

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2 Responses to “Energy-Efficiency and The Cost of Home Ownership”

  1. SteamboatEcoBroker Says:

    That’s a great point. Energy costs in larger or poorly constructed homes can be out of control. Know what you’re getting into.

    SteamboatEcobroker

  2. All Things Eco Blog Carnival Volume Fourteen | Focus Organic.com Says:

    […] we do is perfect, it’s all about taking small steps toward a better future. Leah Mansback presents Energy-Efficiency and The Cost of Home Ownership and Is It Time to Replace That Air-Conditioner? posted at GreenHomes America. The second article […]

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