Author Sheri Koones thinks the new housing trend is green homes:
The way Sheri Koones looks at it, the next real estate status symbol will be a minuscule heating bill.
“It’s the new bragging rights,” said Koones. “People used to brag, I have granite countertops. Today I think it’s going to be a lot more substantial to say, ‘I pay hardly anything for energy. I’m LEED Platinum” (a certification of residential energy conservation).
Granted, with the housing market still wounded, green construction is hardly likely to dominate cocktail-party chatter anytime soon. But Koones is mindful of our newfound economic sobriety. Declaring “the whole McMansion thing is over,” she’s become a champion of an unlikely-sounding candidate for the Next Big Thing: factory-built housing…
But she doesn’t mean like trailers. She means homes that aren’t constructed start-to-finish on someone’s lot, but largely in manufacturing facilities, sometimes on assembly lines. She’s become such an advocate of these processes that she’s out with her third coffee-table book on the subject.
There does seem to be a growing interest in green homes, partly for their earth-consciousness and partly because of an interest in reducing utility costs. However, I wonder about two things:
1. A granite countertop is a more obvious status symbol than “a minuscule heating bill.” So is a McMansion compared to a pre-fab green home. Of course, one can have less obvious status symbols but then the owner has to do more work talking it up and pointing it out to people. I suppose LEED homes could start displaying plaques or signs that highlight their green status. Plus, is the LEED rating of the pre-fab home enough to overcome people’s conceptions about pre-fab homes?
2. As I’ve wondered before, how do green homes compare in cost? Cutting down heating costs is good but there must be some cost to this up-front. What about resale value, particularly for a pre-fab home?