Of all the industries that has the capability and the capacity to drastically help in reducing green house gasses, reduce those ever increasing electric utility bills, and in general put more disposable income in practically everyone’s pocketbook should be the Home Construction Industry. It is no more evident than in Tampa Bay, Florida. Home of one of the more populous areas in the Sun Shine state. Today, in over 99% of newly constructed single family homes, town homes, condo’s or apartment buildings builders don’t even consider augmenting basic electric utilities by installing solar panels, solar water heaters, tankless water heaters or even putting in a centrally located fireplace. To make matters worse no longer is the government offering extensive tax rebates like we saw in 2010 where a $1,500 tax credit was guaranteed when one installed energy efficient windows, doors, and appliances.
Basic utility costs have continually risen much higher in recent years and the prognosis is that utility companies will only push everyone’s pocketbooks to the limit with ever increasing rate hikes. In Tampa, for example if a home owner wanted to cut their conventional electric bill in half by installing solar energy would require an investment of over $50,000. Another example how purposely high the cost of installing green technology in homes today is a regular concrete block home of about 2200 sq feet of living space costs anywhere between $180,000 and roughly $250,000 with conventional electricity supplied by either TECO or Progress Energy. Which, by the way, both get their energy from coal, nuclear, or oil. That same home when supplied with solar to substitute and circumvent the major utility companies now costs over $500,000. Continually making the cost of going green almost to the point of absurd when it is so cost prohibitive to do so.
States are finding any excuse to raise prices in permits or penalties when it comes to ushering in green technologies in the housing industry. But this is where green technology can really make a huge contribution in securing the future for this country and the rest of the world. But not so fast! With practically every city and state experiencing monumental budget short falls has only encouraged the housing industry to keep offering the status quo while imposing outlandish fees or fines when people who want to contribute to an industry that by it’s very nature is good for the planet and the overall health of everyone. A prime example of outlandish fees is that states and cities building codes have continually been cooperating with major utility companies. Today permits for occupancy in any dwelling requires that a major electric company is the sole supplier of energy. In other words no occupancy permit will be issued without a major utility company supplying energy for that home or dwelling. So no matter if one had enough money to supply their home with solar power they still need to have a major electric company involved in providing the needed electricity to that home. It would have been a hell of allot more efficient and more beneficial for all if major home builders installed more energy producing components in every thing that they construct.
A real undercurrent of the housing market is in the fact that in states like Florida where they are more susceptible to experience major adverse weather such as Hurricanes and tropical storms when home owners want to insure their home from the effects of any incumbent weather by installing backup or stand by generators now require other permits that far exceed one’s ability to either purchase one or by the permit to have one installed. All of these contingencies have purposely made one’s ability to go “green” very difficult, to say the least.
Places like Tampa, Florida the construction industry is still feeling the after effects of the financial crisis when the sub-prime mortgage catastrophe hit. But, they are still managing to complete some home construction projects. None of which have they installed any green measures that would cut home owners utility bills substantially. In fact most of the major builders have only managed to entices buyers with only energy efficient appliances while not offering any major energy cost savings in their over all construction like solar panels integrated on roofs or the sides of homes or buildings. Still most contractors and builders utilize standard tank water heaters and other standard features that only use conventional electric power from major utility companies.
The cost of installing green technology in homes is still way to expensive for the majority of people. If there was a real sincere effort by government to recognize that lower costs in the products of green technology will actually stimulate more economic growth practically every new home would now be fully integrated with solar energy. Along with every home, every community would be supplied with electricity produced from lower cost solar farms augmented by wind turbine farming. The United States has long since been aware of the need to development and implement green technology for producing energy and to wean ourselves from the dependence of foreign energy. The monumental cost in procuring the fuel needed to produce our energy just this past year alone the United States spent over 350 billion dollars just for imported oil. Money we don’t have is spent every day. The longer we delay infrastructure development in producing our own affordable, reliable and ever replenishable green energy the more expensive energy becomes for all Americans. With this development, every home builder, contractor and government officials that issue permits have to realize that by having green technology integrated in every building is not only good for the environment but is more conducive in producing long term economic growth for everyone. The time to make green technology more affordable is now.