Even in the Houston area, with an economy built on the oil industry, some consumers are looking for a little extra — and sometimes a lot extra — energy efficiency in their home purchases. Via the Houston Chronicle:
Local builders for years have touted the energy efficiency of their homes, such as better insulation and power-saving appliances, but some are taking it to a new level.
One company, for example, is creating an entire community where all the houses will have solar power. Another builder claims its new green homes will cut up to 50 percent in heating and cooling usage.
“Just about every other person I come across is wanting at least one of these green features,” said real estate agent Stephanie Edwards-Musa, who specializes in green homes. “But it’s still making its way here because we are still overcoming the misconception that it’s too costly.”
[...] But rising energy costs are fueling demand.
In a move to bring solar power to the masses, Houston developer Land Tejas plans to power its 2,700-home Discovery at Spring Trails community with the help of solar power.
The solar systems will offset about 15 percent of the electric usage in a 4,000-square-foot home that uses an average 3,000 kilowatts a month, said Craig Lobel, a planning consultant hired by Land Tejas.
Of course, just because you slap a solar panel on your roof doesn’t make your home energy efficient. It may not even make much sense economically – perhaps a good shade tree strategically placed would provide more cooling than a solar-panel powered air conditioner.
But the houses are to be built to “Environments for Living” program standards, and each of them will get a General Electric designed dashboard to track water and power use, and measure solar power production. At least it looks like a pretty good set up, just judging from a newspaper story and a few pictures on the internet. At least if you are looking for a new home just north of Houston.