What do you think of 'eco-friendly' homes? (green-houses lol)


I think that my dh and I started the mortgage application process a wee bit late, here. Our lease is up end of May. For some of you who know the saga here…the owner of our home is entering into foreclosure. We love the home, and were thinking of buying, but…he works with a realtor who wants to put it on the market. I am not willing to sit here for months, while we have people trapsing through the house, weekend after weekend. Well, probably not that frequently considering the housing market isn’t that great right now, but we started looking at other houses on the market, and frankly…I am leaning towards wanting to build our own custom home, that is ‘green,’ and eco friendly. (thus we’d have to rent for two more years to save to buy a property) I have really gotten into recycling, eating organically, not wasting energy, etc…and I just think the idea is very intriguing to me. I have been watching some shows where people have taken their regular homes and made them, greener. I am wondering what your thoughts are? My husband is of the opinion that it won’t cut down all that much on utility costs, but I have read the contrary.

Curious if a) you have an eco friendly home and if not b)would you consider buying/building one?


I would buy/build one. Of course, being a single mom and living in Southern California, that’s not going to happen anytime soon…

I have read a lot of intriguing articles on eco-friendly homes. I think having solar panels make tons of sense, especially when you live somewhere where the sun is frequently out.

Bamboo flooring is supposed to be a really green choice, and I think they are gorgeous.

I’d have to look around, but I know I have seen some great resources on the web. There are even some really interesting manufactured green homes, that look anything but manufactured, and have tons of style.

I kind of like the less is more type homes, that are smaller and don’t have a ton of specialized and essentially useless rooms.


Very interesting. You live in a great area for solar - keeping in mind green can be costly. Solar is not cheap - though there are fabulous great windows available, insulation, building material that can make houses incredibly Energy Star friendly.

There may even be rebates and incentives available offered by your state and the fed govt if you dig deep and do your homework.


Actually… solar isn’t that great in the “Sunshine State”… we have LOTS of cloudy days which reduces that resource. It’s not bad, but it’s certainly not a fiscal benefit to add panels to your house yet here in FL (we have friends in the solar business, so I have a little info)…
One of the BIGGEST issues in FL is WATER (at least in our area)… 50% of water use goes toward landscaping! :eek: So one thing we’re really trying to do at our house is to look at Xeriscaping. Currently our lawn looks dreadful, but that’s because we don’t use our sprinklers. :smiley: We live in a wildlife preserve area on a protected river, so we really try to take our water usage and fertilizer requirements seriously (actually, it’s one of our biggest reasons for NOT using cloth diapers, to bring up another subject :wink: )
We’re currently experimenting with new lawn types (starting some plugs in dead spots) that is supposed to be much more water-friendly…

I think being eco-friendly is going to be very subjective depending on the needs of your particular environment. For us, water is our first priority…


It’s like organic produce. It costs three times as much, but isn’t really any better for you. I wouldn’t pay extra. I would be more interested in energy efficient construction to reduce my costs.

That said, your landlord is an idiot. In this market, he’s got a guaranteed buyer, but he won’t sell it to you? Sounds like he’s being greedy. And he will probably pay for it in the end. Prices are still going down. He may end up getting less for it than if he had just sold it to you for a fair price. If you really want to buy the house you live in, perhaps you should bring that point to his attention.


whatta great point, EM. I agree, our lawn really doesn’t look very green these days, and hubby works crazy hours, and so it is starting to look like straw. Why does it seem like sod is the only way to go in these master communities? I don’t like it, personally…also, are grubs only related to sod, or can grass get grubs? I don’t mean to turn this thread into Gardening 101:D

I agree though that water is of such a concern here.


Um, our thoughts exactly…about our landlord…But, it’s not him, as a matter of fact, it’s the realtor ‘his partner’ that he trusts. He was very candid with me last week, in telling me that every time he does a deal with this guy, he loses money. (The owner is nearly 70 yrs old, semi retired, and has lost his shirt on three other homes) I think, personally, that the realtor wants us out, so he can buy it…he eluded to this one day. I said…‘isn’t it a conflict of interest if you are the realtor on a property you intend on buying?’ He doesn’t like me much, we’ll just say that, and then had the nerve to ask me if he could show me other houses in the area. :dts: Yeah, he’s something. But, it is what it is…I think that we’ll just rent for two years, completely clean up our debt (which isn’t lots, but it’s there) and build ourselves.


It does sound like your current owner is being greedy or just petty.:shrug: As far as Eco goes, I would agree with Em, you will get more return on your investment with a well insulated brick home with good windows/good seals. We live in an area that is mostly sandy with clay. St. Augustine grass rules, we only water when it gets dry and crunchy, but no more than once a week. We keep it at least 3" high and only fertilize once in the Spring and use lime pellets in the Fall. Just my cents.:slight_smile:


3"?:eek: Do you live in a HOA community? The HOA police would be after you here. That’s another thing…at first, I liked the whole HOA thing, but they have become too critical of things, it seems. We have neighbors who didn’t trim their palm trees enough, and were fined $150. I mean, we’re talking about a neighbor whose yard really looks GOOD.:shrug:

GD–Yes, he is perhaps being greedy, but he is being swayed by a greedy broker.


whatevergirl, perhaps you should contact the board that regulates realtors in your state and communicate your concerns about this realtor. It seems he is taking advantage of your elderly landlord and has been for some time!


Yep, we have been in drought conditions too, the past 3-4 summers and the local paper runs articles from Turf Experts and that’s what they say works the best. I tried it the past two summers and it does seem to work well for St Augustine grass. They refer to is as the Shag Carpet of grasses.:smiley:


I think you have to sift and sort out the hype from the reality.

I do think building an energy efficient home, landscaping for the climate and water conservation, and looking at alternative energy sources can be good ideas. Rain barrels, composting, etc, can be good additions to the yard.

Some synthetic materials may not be considered “green” but if they last 4x longer than a “natural” material you end up using less and wasting less, IMHO. For example, roofing materials and siding on homes.

When we renovated we added extra insulation, double paned windows, fluorescent lighting, and enegergy star appliances. We are now looking at putting in a heat pump, too.

As for all the “reclaimed” and “green” products-- I think you need to do your research, some of them may claim to be “green” but may not really be any better than the traditional products.

Wind and solar energy are very costly but the newer generation technologies are bringing down the prices. Don’t forget to look at the tax credits and keep all your receipts if you put in energy related upgrades, get the documentation and forms from the manufacturers. I was able to take a tax credit on our insulation.


I agree. There are associations that can help prevent an elderly person being taken advantage of.

I would also suggest looking up NeighborWorks America. The offer mortgage counseling for those who are delinquent and facing foreclosure. They are part of the HOPE Now Alliance, and moreover they have in-person counseling and will definitely help if there is anything shady going on regarding this realtor. They can help the homeowner avoid foreclosure.



On building the eco-friendly house: I would watch every episode of “Living With Ed” first. Then I would email Rachelle. Some things work for some people, some things don’t.

As far as the owner goes- Yes, I would say something to somebody, either the realty board, the attorney general, somebody somewhere. But when have you ever known me not to say something?:wink:


I think this might be a good idea. I can’t believe that this man (my landlord) is STILL willing to allow him to sell this home, seeing he was taken on the other three. He confided in me the other night, telling me also, that he ‘should never have bought this house, he knew better but ‘Bob’ talked him into it.’:frowning: I told him, ‘now that you’re retiring, you need to really watch who you trust–especially in Florida.’ Florida has it positives, but there are a ton of sheisters here…it’s like the state where sheisters set up shop. It’s sad.:frowning:

1ke–on your thoughts regarding separating the hype from reality-you sound like my dh! He is a bit skeptical with my newfound desire. ha He likes the idea of building our own home though…we shall see-!


haha Yes…I must say, you are never at a loss…but it’s why we love ya here.:smiley:

I have been watching greenovate a lot too…but, living with ed sounds interesting.


I do decorative painting in homes. Years ago, when there were not (and there still aren’t) many good “green” decorative paint products available in the US, I always found it funny that some client wanted me to send to the UK or Europe to order “green” materials. Like shipping them across the world doesn’t have an impact on the environment.

I think it’s a way for people to assuage their guilty consiences, personally. I think the biggest impact that construction has is on landfill space, so send whatever you tear out for a remodel to a “green” landfill or recycling center…that makes at LEAST as much impact as green materials.

Solar power panels on the roof…would love it if I could afford it!


3 inches isn’t that tall for saint augustine, is it? I’ve got to mow mine tall to keep the Burmuda grass out.


That is a great point. I think of all the waste that I personally contribute, and maybe I do feel guilty. I guess I never thought about it much, but since researching a bit more, it really has made me want to at least stop being so wasteful!

I love the solar panel idea…


it is if you live in my nutball subdivision! lol:p

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