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On average in New Mexico what is the cost per square foot to build a completely green home with the best insulation?

On average in New Mexico what is the cost per square foot to build a completely green home with the best insulation? It should be a passive solar home.

I need this information for insurance purposes in case I am in need of total reconstruction due to complete loss of our current home.

Asked by Leah Popp
Posted May 22, 2013 2:07 PM ET
Edited May 22, 2013 2:20 PM ET


7 Answers

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There is no way to answer your question, but I'll take a stab at it anyway. The answer is $70 to $300 per square foot.

By the way, there is no generally accepted definition for "a completely green home."

For that matter, there is no generally accepted definition of "the best insulation."

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted May 22, 2013 2:12 PM ET
Edited May 22, 2013 2:22 PM ET.


Or, for that matter, what counts as square footage. And I'd narrow it down to $75 - $290, but I'm a pretty daring guy.

Ah, the internets.

Answered by Dan Kolbert
Posted May 22, 2013 3:05 PM ET


Cost range can also be contingent upon where in NM this is- remote locations can be dramatically more expensive to build than near major towns due to the transportation issues (both materials & labor). And getting the energy use numbers under control in a high-altitude cold local climate home is far more expensive than lower altitude moderate climate locations. The climate zones in NM are quite diverse, varying from very temperate US climate zone 3 weather in the southeast to US climate zone 7 type conditions above 10,000' in the Sangre de Cristo.

Where is your current (apparently wrecked) home located?

How big was it, and about what was it's assessed value? Costs go will go way up on a per-foot basis for small-footprint jewel-box of a house compared to a no-frills large tract-home barn, but building very large homes with very low energy requirements can be quite expensive too.

Answered by Dana Dorsett
Posted May 22, 2013 3:06 PM ET


Your insight is appreciated. Because you are a builder who is active in the field, you were able to narrow the range to $75 to $290. Thanks for sharpening your pencil and helping out.

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted May 22, 2013 3:18 PM ET


there are 2 passivhaus projects recently built in santa fe. one is large (with home office, no garage) @ around $135/sf, one is small (w/ 2 car garage) @ around $155/sf

Answered by mike eliason
Posted May 22, 2013 4:15 PM ET


Leah, there is some ambiguity in your last sentence, Dana read it as meaning your home has already been destroyed, I interpreted it to mean what value should you write into your insurance policy as a rebuild cost in case of possible future catastrophe. If the latter you should get an estimate of current as-is rebuild cost from a suitably qualified and experienced local contractor, perhaps the one who built it in the first place. And you should update that number regularly to account for inflation.

Answered by James Morgan
Posted May 22, 2013 11:27 PM ET


The house is located in Tesuque, just north of Santa Fe. James, you are right; I am talking about value for homeowner's insurance purposes. The original builder is no longer in the area. The house is passive solar with a propane stove back-up plus a heat/air unit for an addition added on in 2003. The house is 2000 sq. ft. It is has concrete floors except in the addition which has 420 sq. ft. of Rappgo Larch w/ pearlflex mat. Most of the walls are concrete block filled with concrete, one interior wall is adobe and the side walls on the main portion of the house are 2 x 6 construction. The house has two portals (covered) and one of them (20' x 12') is screened in. Walls are plastered. I am highly chemically sensitive thus the need for "clean" materials, and naturally we want the house to be energy efficient. There is an entry/sunroom floored in brick that runs across the front of the house (southside) that is 33' x 8'7". So, as you can see, it is a custom house not a typical tract house. it should also have an air purification system built into the air/heat unit. Hope that is more helpful and clarifying. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Answered by Leah Popp
Posted May 23, 2013 1:19 PM ET

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