Green homes are more affordable

HOUSTON "I wish I could move now into one," she said.

The house is different because of the solar panels, insulation and everything else involved that makes it a hyper-energy efficient house. When completed, the house will cut energy use by 80%. While not every house in Houston comes loaded with green efficiency, the differences go even deeper.

Energy savings technologies like solar panels certainly aren't new, but the fact these homes are becoming more affordable certainly is. The average price is under $150,000.

The homes have caught the attention of Mayor Bill White and city council members. They like the project enough to approve a down payment assistance program for these homes. The catch is that the program is only open to residents with certain income restrictions.

"Green and energy efficiency is not just for the elite," said builder Zack Burgli. "It's for the entry level homes, anybody can afford it now."

Burgli says the energy bill for electricity, gas and water from one of his homes runs about $80 per month. He has dozens of similar homes planned to be built around Houston.

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