Weigh Whats Possible with Whats Practical

Claudette Reichel  |  6/25/2008 1:45:37 AM

More is not always better. There is always a point of diminishing return. A sustainable house must be marketable to fulfill its intent. Alternative building systems and component products should be evaluated and compared according to the following considerations.

Life-cycle cost-effective: Consider not only initial cost, but also operating cost (utility bills, supplies), maintenance cost- and risk- management benefits (loss prevention) over the life of the product or structure. Investments in durability and efficiency may cost more initially, but less in the long run.

Locally available: The system or product, experienced installers and maintenance services should be available in your area or easily obtained. More and more products are readily available online.

Reduced labor or time: A building system, product or technique that reduces labor or construction time (and interim financing costs) can help offset higher costs. Remember that doing anything different for the first time involves a learning curve for the contractor and labor crew; this typically results in more time needed and higher costs than when workers are experienced with a system.

Market value: Building systems and products selected should not reduce the market appeal of the home. If something appears unattractive, inconvenient or odd to mainstream consumers, the home’s market value will suffer.

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