The Economic Benefits of Green Building: Appliances

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By now, everyone has heard the term “green building” as a description for environmentally safe, sustainable construction.  However, for some, green building brings to mind something out of a science fiction novel:  roofs sparkle and shine with solar powered panels, wastewater is recycled, and geothermal pumps heat and cool water while small white windmills, cables stretching into homes, spin in a good breeze.Unless you’re in the industry, the idea of green building may be just a little too much to swallow.  You may not think it’s worth it for you to build/buy a green home, or update your home.  However, the long-term benefits of green building make the short-term costs – in time and money – well worth it.Economic BenefitsWhether improving your home or having a new home built, going green can make a large difference to your wallet, and one of the biggest area of long term savings is appliances.  While the up-front costs could be higher, almost doubled for top-of-the-line, the overall savings may surprise you.SavingsThe EPA estimates that the U.S. spends over $140 billion each year on energy bills.  In 1992, the Energy Star program was introduced to promote energy-efficient products in an attempt to combat that cost.Energy Star appliances use 10% – 66% less energy or water than regular models.  As Americans began to buy these appliances, the national cost dropped; by 2006, that cost had dropped by $14 billion dollars.Don’t just think about the cost of green appliances; keep in mind that any appliance has a life span.  An Energy Star refrigerator may cost you $1000, but it can save you as much as 15% of your energy bill.  For an average household, that’s approximately $150 a year.  With most refrigerators lasting at least ten years, the green version will pay for itself at least a year before you have to buy another one.While green building isn’t just about energy-efficient appliances, they are a good start on saving you money and protecting the environment.  Oh, and don’t forget about that 30% tax credit incentive!

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