Thorntree Commons at Suttons Bay
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Our Vision

More Information

WHO WE ARE
THORNTREE GUIDELINES
MASTER DEED & BYLAWS
THORNTREE SITE PLAN
LEED AND SUSTAINABILITY
PRESS RELEASE: 3/13/06

Conceptual Designs

OPEN LETTER TO ARCHITECTS
DESIGN: JANA K. VANDER GOOT

Articles

WHY BUILD GREEN?
TEN PRINCIPLES
DR. JONG-JIN KIM: EXCERPTS
A VISIT TO TRYON FARM
LETTER FROM HANNA DONIGER
A SOLAR ENVELOPE HOME
HYBRID HOMES
CONSIDERING LEED FOR HOMES

Why Build Green?

The most obvious answer to this question is that by buying or building energy-efficient homes we're protecting the environment by cutting down on energy consumption and helping ease the nation's demand for oil, coal, and natural gas. Along with these environmental and ethical considerations, however, there are also financial incentives.

Given that an energy-efficient home could cost a few thousand dollars more than one that isn't, you might ask whether it's worth spending the extra money. Daniel D. Chiras asks this question in his book, The New Ecological Home, and provides us with some compelling answers:

Save money on monthly fuel bills
Paying the extra cost for a well-insulated home means that the home will require a smaller heating and cooling system. This along with other energy-efficient measures applying to appliances, windows, light fixtures, etc, can shrink monthly utility bills and can lead to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in savings over the course of a thirty-year mortgage. Passive heating and cooling systems can lead to even greater savings.

Experience greater comfort levels and reduce unwanted noise from outside
Energy-efficient homes aren't drafty like those that are more poorly built and are often quieter; the extra insulation acts as a sound barrier from outside noise.

Reduce maintenance costs and increase resale value
As long as we depend on non-renewable energy sources in our daily lives, the cost of these sources is going to continue to increase as supplies inevitably dwindle. This means that in years to come, demand will likely rise considerably not just for homes but for all manner of structures and appliances that use fewer of these resources.

Save money on your mortgage
Buying or building an energy-efficient home can qualify you for a lower-interest loan, and some local utility companies will also offer sizeable rebates to those who take energy-efficiency measures. Various lenders offer Energy-Efficient Mortgages (EEMs), including Chase, the Federal Housing Administration, and Countrywide Homes.

For more detailed information on Energy-Efficient Mortgages, please visit the following sites:

FCIC: Energy Efficient Mortgage Home Owner Guide
HUD Energy Efficient Mortgages Insurance Program
How To Get An Energy-Efficient Mortgage (EEM)