Saturday, August 16, 2008

"Tesla" Home: New Concept in Green Living

David is blessed to have more epiphanies between 8 and 9am than most people have in a lifetime.  While we struggled with our home loan and the appraisal process - David came up with the concept that our home is analogous to a "Tesla" - the super sexy yet green electric car that does 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds yet averages 256 miles per gallon. 

Drive quickly.  Tread lightly.

We were thinking about this as we checked out, smelled and licked Elon Musk's Tesla last Tuesday at a friend's house.

Here's Elon.  He's only 37 yet is the Chairman of Tesla and financially backed the company to the tune of $55 million.

We used New Resource Bank for our construction loan, and we were so sad to witness the disconnect that still remains between a BANK that understands the value of green but is coupled to and hand-cuffed with an APPRAISAL industry that gives you a higher appraisal for more square feet, bedrooms and bathrooms. We feel many of the "green" McMansions popping up everywhere are greenwash - is it really green to have a 5000 square foot home? Seems to miss the point and spirit of green.

David wrote a thoughtful letter to our appraisers who initially valued our soon-to-be LEED Platinum at no higher than market rate for a fossil-fuel guzzling regular Craftsman. He made the case of our home being a "Tesla" prototype - small yet so deep green, and worth the rather high price tag.  When you take our Prius on the road, and accelerate to 60mph, it says "yes." But a Tesla is a sports car, an electric sports car, and it is speedy.

David succeeded: we got a better appraisal for our loan, although still significantly lower than our cost.

We need to overhaul our appraisal system so that it values green homes higher and with different standards than traditional homes.

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