Friday, February 29, 2008

Chopping Down More Trees to Build More Houses…The Environmental Way

Today’s Wall Street Journal ran a story on the recent push towards eco friendly homes. But perhaps the most interesting part of the piece, aside from one couple admitting they didn’t expect to recoup on their investment within their lifetime (which begs the question: then when?), was the perceived actors behind this particular fad. No it’s not the environmentalists. It’s the contractors who build and renovate homes.

There’s been a theory in the economic field that essentially says in order to pass most legislation you need both Baptists, i.e. a moral party, and bootleggers, a faction looking to profit, proving the old saying “politics makes strange bedfellows.” However, I think cases such as this demonstrate these odd pairings move far beyond simple legislation.

Changes in the market have caused consumers looking to build or renovate a home to substantially change their cost benefit analysis, and as a result fewer and fewer are actually going through with the deed. Thus contractors have had to get creative in attempts to reweight the analysis and have begun to offer, or rather push, more and more “green” domiciles, which offers the consumer the benefits of not just remodeling, but the warm fuzzy feelings of helping to save mother nature in the process.

The end result? A day I never thought I’d see, environmentalists almost paradoxically thrilled to see continued construction. Bootleggers and Baptists, eat your heart out.

Jaeson Madison

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