Sustainability

Why should we do anything about sustainability?

The answer in all cases is to ensure a decent, secure, healthy life for all species on this planet.

As consumers, we are frequently confronted with lifestyle decisions that can impact our environment.

There are choices in this life that can make a big difference in what the quality of life will be for those who follow us.

Going with the flow of our culture is hard to avoid, and unfortunately, the flow is not in the right direction for evolving a sustainable future.

One of the most momentous choices that any of us will make is the kind of house we live in.

A sustainable building can be defined as any building that is sited, designed, constructed, operated, and maintained for the health and well-being of the occupants while minimizing the impact on the environment.

Sustainable building practices offer an opportunity to create environmentally sound and resource-efficient buildings by using an integrated approach to design. Sustainable buildings promote resource conservation by including design features, such as: energy efficiency, use of renewable energy, and encouragement of water conservation.

By promoting resource conservation, sustainable building design creates healthy and comfortable environments, reduces operation and maintenance costs, considers environmental impacts of building construction and retrofit, and concentrates on waste minimization.

Sustainable building design also addresses such issues as historical preservation and access to public transportation and other community infrastructure systems. The entire life cycle of the building and its components is considered, as well as economic concerns, environmental impact, and overall performance.

Reasons to Build Sustainably, Especially in New Mexico

Tangibles

-Economics

A more sustainable building is a better investment for many reasons. It will cost less to own and operate while having better resale value.

  • New Mexico has a Sustainable Building Tax Credit. This unique and underused credit will return up to $13,000 in tax credits for a residential building that earns Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification. LEED certification requires designing and building to higher standards for several building attributes including Indoor Air Quality, Energy Consumption, Site usage, and Durability. It requires third party inspection and testing which provides an objective quality assurance for the owner, while reducing building operating and maintenance costs and improving a buildings re-sale value.
  • There is a 26% Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit (in 2020) that will help pay for solar thermal or solar electric systems and may include the heating system. These systems can be included in the buildings long term financing which is low now and has great tax advantages.
  • There is an exemption to the Gross Receipts Tax for solar investments.

These tax breaks are money the government provides for you to improve the environment and promote energy independence. They also reduce a buildings operating cost and improve your equity value. A good illustration of this can be made with energy costs. If a conventional building has current annual energy costs of $1,800 a year and energy costs continue to increase 5% annually, by the end of a 20 year mortgage that annual cost will have increased to over $5,000 a year and will have required over $68,000 in energy costs. An important point is that these costs are in after tax dollars and represents money down the drain and a reduced equity position.

In contrast, the investment for energy efficiency can be financed with the tax sheltered mortgage and government subsidies, which results in am improved equity position that will improve with building appreciation and the increase of energy costs.

Additionally, in our experience, our sustainable homes have re-sold very quickly, even during economic downturns.

Intangibles

-Environment

Making a positive contribution to the global and local environment with sustainability should be seen as a civic duty. It is important to ourselves and to future generations, and there is no more important place to do that then in the homes we build or modify. A commitment to sustainable building may be the most important decision we can make, and will leave an enduring testimony for the owners.

-Health

Sustainability requires making good decisions about many aspects of our built environment. These decisions involve indoor air quality, lighting, comfort, and acoustics. Sustainable buildings have proved to have higher rental values, increased occupancy rates, and improved occupant productivity.

-Aesthetics

A sustainable building should incorporate timeless superior aesthetics. How can it be enduring if it is unpleasant to look at or live in?

You can contact Sun & Earth Construction at (575) 521-3537