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Would you pay more for environmentally friendly construction?


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#1 MarkoJ

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 04:19 PM

From my personal experience in real estate, it doesn't appear that the consumer is willing to pay more for environmentally friendly construction. Dockside green is a good example. It sells on par per sq/ft with other concrete construction buildings.

My impression is that it is easier, for example, to sell a townhome for $399,000 with baseboard heating versus a townhome for $419,000 with geothermal heating (approximately the cost to put such a system in per unit). Or it is easier to sell a 1,600 sq/ft unit with baseboard heat for $419,000 versus a 1,450 sq/ft unit geothermal heating. Same seems to apply to many other environmentally friendly upgrades (LED light bulbs, etc).

Price point and feel/size of space still trumps everything else?

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#2 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 04:45 PM

As soon as I read the title, I thought of Dockside Green. No real estate project in Western Canada (or all of Canada, or all of North America) has had such glowing and widespread media attention for its friendliness, yet buyers have dried up.

The answer is NO, the overwhelming majority of people won't, just like they will not buy hybrid SUVs, or even buy the 4 cylinder model of the car they drive.

Heck, they have had to ban the incandescent light bulb to change our ways, and then we are talking some pocket change in difference.
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#3 sebberry

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 06:07 PM

Have you seen all the crap inside an eco-friendly light bulb? Ecomentals will wonder why those bulbs weren't banned if they looked.

Anyway, I'm more about creature comforts and features than eco-friendly. That's not to say I'll light a tire fire the day of groundbreaking and leave it lit until I move in, but I'm not going out of my way to save Johnny polar-bear either if it costs considerably more.

That being said, if land and houses were cheap I'm sure I'd pony up a few more pennies for something greenpeace won't burn my house down for using.

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#4 pherthyl

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 06:15 PM

Depends. Does the consumer see the actual benefit? Are dockside green strata fees lower because the building uses less energy or is it basically the same?

I think people are more likely to upgrade their own houses to improve energy efficiency where you can immediately see the benefit in your monthly heating/cooling bill. As long as the payback isn't too many years. Also I suspect this is more common in colder environments. Go to the interior and you won't see a place without storm windows. Here every second house still has ****ty original single panes.

#5 tedward

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 08:53 AM

Heck, they have had to ban the incandescent light bulb to change our ways, and then we are talking some pocket change in difference.


Where are you buying your lightbulbs? The difference is a lot more than "pocket change" for me.

There is also the problem that there is a case to be made that there is no net environmental benefit to the switch. There are better products coming down the pipeline but the ill-conceived switch forced down our throats was too soon based on the wrong technology.

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#6 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 09:19 AM

Where are you buying your lightbulbs? The difference is a lot more than "pocket change" for me.


I buy ALL my household products at the $1.25 store. So all light bulbs there are the same.
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#7 concorde

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 07:52 PM

It would depend on what was offered. I wouldn't pay any money for special green carpet, low VOC paints, recycled whatever. I would consider paying a premium for things that will save me money in the long run such as geothermal heating which should reduce my heating bill significantly

#8 G-Man

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 08:55 PM

We try to buy green building products when we can even for a lot more. We have only been using low voc paint for years. There is a market now is not the right time for it.

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#9 phx

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 09:08 PM

I view "green" products with skepticism. Not all of them live up to their promise.

#10 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 09:42 PM

I view "green" products with skepticism. Not all of them live up to their promise.


What about lettuce?
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#11 phx

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 10:32 PM

What about lettuce?


Iceberg lettuce often disappoints.
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#12 Dimitrios

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 07:49 AM

Not all green products are created equal. The gold standard would probably be organic produce. The 'organic' label is regulated by law, and does mean something (plants grown without herbicides or pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, etc.). I would and do pay 0-20% more for organic produce. I won't pay 100% more, which is sometimes required. If the conventional tomatoes are $1.29 a pound, I'm not paying $2.59 a pound for organic ones.

For buying homes, I'm not sure how well-heeled folks view these things, but my budget has always been more or less fixed. So it becomes a question of what would I give up for a more environmentally-friendly living space. Maybe 5-10% of the lot size, a couple hundred square feet of living space (assuming a house at least 1500 ft^2 or so), for really significant improvements, like geothermal heating and solar hot water, for instance? Hmm. Good question.

#13 dasmo

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 07:52 AM

I get your scepticism phx... The modern green movement seems to be "throw out all your old stuff and buy new stuff" The lightbulb thing in particular annoys me. Now when they burn out I have a piece of hazardous waist to deal with. Their promise of being long lasting was a fallacy. Let's see how these $40 LED smart bulbs pan out....

#14 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 07:56 AM

Their promise of being long lasting was a fallacy. Let's see how these $40 LED smart bulbs pan out....


I think LED will do better. I think that as consumers accepted compact fluorescents, manufacturers strove to build them cheaper. Their price sure dropped over 5-10 years. So maybe the first ones were long-lasting.

My home still has large reserves of coal gas, as we invested in large tanks in about 1953 to take the last from the old plant on Pembroke. So we are still using gas lamps, until the new technologies are proven.

The Coal Gas Reserves would be a cool name for a band.
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#15 spanky123

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 09:30 AM

I think that people would prefer to buy houses which are more environmental friendly but will not pay a significant amount more to do it (unless there is a short term financial return) as you pointed out Marko.

I think that the proof here is the massive drop off in buildings being advertised or built to the highest leed standards. I think that it was a marketing tactic largely which didn't pay off.

#16 sebberry

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 09:49 AM

Guts typically found in a CFL light bulb:



Similar components can be found inside the LED bulbs.

Here's a recent recall covering LED light bulbs: http://www.cpsc.gov/...-Science-Group/


I'll stick with my halogens :)

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#17 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 09:58 AM

Guts typically found in a CFL light bulb:



Similar components can be found inside the LED bulbs.

Here's a recent recall covering LED light bulbs: http://www.cpsc.gov/...-Science-Group/


I'll stick with my halogens :)


What does that photo say though?

I could say:



Oil destined for a plant in New York spilled, affecting this animal. In New York, oil still comprises about 8 percent of the state's electricity fuel mix. If all New Yorkers switched to CFLs, that 8% would not be required.

Or:



Oil drums discarded by U.S. military on the Melville Peninsula, N.W.T., Canada, because they used incandescent lamps rather than LEDs.
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#18 MarkoJ

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 10:10 AM

As soon as I read the title, I thought of Dockside Green. No real estate project in Western Canada (or all of Canada, or all of North America) has had such glowing and widespread media attention for its friendliness, yet buyers have dried up.

The answer is NO, the overwhelming majority of people won't, just like they will not buy hybrid SUVs, or even buy the 4 cylinder model of the car they drive.

Heck, they have had to ban the incandescent light bulb to change our ways, and then we are talking some pocket change in difference.


Good point regarding cars. Have friends who are always talking about being environmentally friendly; however, they just purchased a V6 Accord when the 4 cylinder version would have done just fine.

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#19 MarkoJ

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 10:13 AM

Guts typically found in a CFL light bulb:



Similar components can be found inside the LED bulbs.

Here's a recent recall covering LED light bulbs: http://www.cpsc.gov/...-Science-Group/


I'll stick with my halogens :)


I just spent $30 on one LED in my office (I have 12 pot lights in total). The energy savings wasn't really what did it for me. I figured my time driving to Home Depot was fairly valuable. I figured a LED would save me quite a bit of time not having to replace it in the future? I will slowly replace the other 11 pot lights with LEDs but only as they burn out.

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#20 sebberry

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 10:15 AM

What does that photo say though?


I'm not arguing that in some circumstances it makes sense to use lower power devices. If your power source is a temporary generator, you'd be wise to lower your energy demands. If your power source is a big waterwheel or nuclear, then does it really make sense for thousands of people to be buying $10-$50 light bulbs full of junk?

Not only are the bulbs wasteful when you throw them away, but think about the resources consumed by the 10 different factories making parts for the silly things.

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