Fine Homebuilding and Earth Techling Coverage


Earth Techling and Fine Homebuilding Magazine just published some interesting articles about our house that highlighted the relatively low cost-per-square foot price tag. It’s great to see the idea of affordable net-zero building getting some media attention. Even more gratifying, however, is that I talked to the builder of our house, Ted Clifton of TC Legend Homes, and he says that he gets a call about every week from someone who has heard of our house and is interested in building a zero-energy house of their own.

It’s no wonder people in Seattle and elsewhere are interested in this type of construction, since it represents some serious long-term savings. One commentator on the Fine Homebuilding article wrote:

Of course, for a net zero house any initial savings is really just icing on the cake anyway… Can you imagine the savings that will take place during the life-span of the home? . . . My average cost for gas alone is $1,500/yr. (hot water & furnace), literally burned every year (“litterly” was my Freudian slip). If you include the cost of electricity, then I’m out another $950/yr., for a total expense of $2,450/yr. (gas & electrical alone – my water & sewer are another “drain” altogether 🙂

So, every ten years I’m out +/- $24,000, which coincidently adds up to about the same as my 2 latte/day addiction… Maybe that’s the way to market this to the Seattle-area crowd: net-zero = free caffine 🙂

Here are the articles . . .

Earth Techling: Attractive Net-Zero-Energy House on a Budget

Fine Homebuilding: Seattle Homeowners Build an Affordable Net-Zero-Energy House


3 thoughts on “Fine Homebuilding and Earth Techling Coverage

  1. In the vast space between America’s 2 coasts, $399,000 is a far cry from an affordable home and gives me the impression that you have lost touch with the definition of the word. Where owners are still only spending $100 – $150K for a home and the median household income teeters at $40K, your publicized “green” home is totally inaccessible to the average home buyer.

    • I think it’s important to separate out the cost of the land from the cost of construction. The $399,000 includes the $180,000 we paid for our lot. Obviously, the cost of a vacant lot would be much lower anywhere the median home price is between $100,000 and $150,000. Also, construction costs themselves would probably be lower where the average home price is lower.

      I said that our construction costs are “relatively” low because they are. A typical house in Seattle costs nearly $200 per square foot to construct, while ours was only around $125. Obviously, constructing a new house is not affordable for everyone, but my point is that for those who are considering building or buying a house, net-zero construction doesn’t have to cost much more than traditional construction methods and can even cost less if you’re careful. A perfectly good net-zero house could certainly be constructed for under $150,000, and the savings in energy costs would really add up for its owners, no matter what part of the country they live in.

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