This Q&A Spotlight starts with a simple question from Anders Lewendal, a builder in Bozeman, Montana. If building to the Passivhaus standard is so cost-effective, Lewendal wants to know, why are only a handful of these houses getting built in the U.S. every year?
“Either the cost of fuel is too low or the cost of a Passive House is too high,” Lewendal writes in a post at Green Building Advisor’s Q&A forum.
The simple answer suggested by GBA senior editor Martin Holladay is there are plenty of things Americans could do to save money, such as buying compact fluorescent lamps instead of cheaper but less efficient incandescent light bulbs.
But, Holladay adds, most people don’t think long-term. “Remember that the average American moves every seven years,” Holladay writes. “It’s hard to make a long-term investment if you know you’re going to move soon.”
In the end, he says, it’s not so much about the Passivhaus standard as it about spending as little money up front as possible.
OK, Lewendal replies, but how do we change that thought process?
“If we can show a reasonable return on investment on efficiency measures, we should be able to convince [home buyers] to agree,” he says. “I have nothing against the Passive House Planning Package except that no one wants to use it. I can’t make the numbers work either.”
Buyers are focused on the short term
It takes only 30 seconds of very basic math to see the benefits of investing in LED lights, says Jin Kazama, but he’s been unable to convince anyone he knows to buy Cree LED fixtures. “As Martin pointed out, it is very hard to convince regular folks of anything more than the near future economics,”…
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