Though they want to conserve energy and save on utility costs, many Mainers just can’t justify the price tag on a net zero home.
The Portland Press Herald reports that Maine buyers are willing to settle for “Yankee green” homes that have energy add-ons, but won’t pay hundreds of thousands of dollars extra for a high-performance home.
In 2015, a developer bought a 36-acre parcel of land near Portland and wanted to build modular BrightBuilt homes that are easy to heat, light, and cool. After drawing some initial interest, most buyers opted to not spend an extra $50,000 to $100,000 for a home that saved on energy. Only six of the 26 homes in the Village Run neighborhood will be BrightBuilt.
The concept that buyers will recoup some of their extra upfront cost with lower energy bills is a hard sell. The experience at Village Run has led developer Kaplan Thompson to question whether there’s a market in Maine today for the sort of solar subdivisions sprouting in the West. “I can’t imagine it’s not going to happen here,” he said. “I think there’s still a lag in education. And it’s hard to spend more money.”