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sustainable materials

April 21, 2014
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The use of sustainable materials has become a major trend in the construction industry. More and more people are asking for green materials to be used and more developers are responding to the call and doing just that. Sustainable materials can be a marketing point in and of themselves. They appeal to our conscience and what is best in us: by reducing energy we protect the earth. By not polluting we protect the health and wellbeing of our fellow human beings as well as fragile ecosystems. Materials that are made in a conscientious, earth-positive way represent choosing a lifestyle of caring about others.

But can sustainable materials also help you save money?

Increasingly, the answer is yes. There was a time when the value of sustainable materials was viewed as an offset cost. For example, if you chose a higher R-valuer insulation, a green roofing material or a low-energy-usage furnace, these would cost you more up front than cheap insulation, normal asphalt shingles and a run of the mill furnace. The value of these investments was in the long-term accrual of small discounts. These design choices would help you save a handful of money each month on utilities which would, all else being equal, amount to a smart financial choice in the long-term.

This argument is completely correct, but when sustainable materials were very expensive it was also a hard sell. People can understand the logic of long-term savings, but not everyone wants to spend $100 more today to save $5 a month forever. That match changes however if the sustainable materials are priced competitively with the conventional materials. When the eco-friendly choice only costs $10 more, is the same price, or even undercuts the competition, the immense savings from energy reduction become a no brainer. Thankfully more and more green materials are now affordably priced.

Beyond that there is also the value of durability. Many conventional materials have a relatively short life span. They weren’t produced for sustainable long-term investments so often times they don’t last long. When sustainable materials can offer more durable, enduring lifespans than their competitors, they once again add up to big savings. For example,vinyl flooring is an eco-friendly material that looks beautiful and comes in many styles. That’s nice on its own, but consider that it also outlasts virtually any other floor surface, is resistant to stains, scuffs and scratching and doesn’t need to be waxed or polished. That means that over 30 years of usage you save a great deal of money by not having to repair or replace it.

The green building industry has come a long way and are surpassing other building methods in affordability, looks and values. Sustainable materials are not just good for the earth these days, but for the pocketbook.

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