Sometimes Cost-Effectiveness is Not the Only Reason, Panelists Say
Before considering whether to add "solar-ready" capability to a new home, make sure that all the cheaper energy-efficiency improvements have already been made, said panelists at a session on solar energy at the 2013 International Builders' Show in Las Vegas.
"It's not just about reducing demand, it's about reducing demand cost-effectively," said panelist C.R. Herro, vice president of environmental affairs for Meritage Homes in Scottsdale, Ariz.
That is, of course, unless "soft costs" — such as winning over anti-NIMBY activists, convincing officials to change zoning requirements or promoting the community to potential home buyers — might be reduced with the addition of solar or other renewable energy improvements are made, they said.
"Cost-benefit analysis makes no difference unless it translates into a sale," he said. Adding renewable energy options may give a community a higher profile and result in more sales, and that may give the builder or developer and opportunity — and the dollars and "street cred" — to build another community that's even more sustainable.
Learn more about the debate between efficiency improvements and marketability by listening to a recording of the IBS session. For information, visit the IBS Online Library.