In a recently released white paper, "Redefining Cost: A Beacon of Hope Shines Through Housing Market Gloom," architect Michelle Kaufmann of Oakland, Calif.-based Michelle Kaufmann Designs outlines the cost benefits of owning a green-built home and encourages the housing industry to change how home costs are evaluated and presented to homeowners.

Kaufmann offers an approach to estimating the true costs of living in a home month-to-month, compares the costs of owning a green home to a comparable conventional home, and demonstrates how much more affordable green homes can be. In her introduction to the white paper, Kaufmann writes that Americans "... are beginning to appreciate that the real cost of a home is not revealed in its sticker price but in the combined monthly costs of ownership, including mortgage payments, utility bills, property taxes, and insurance premiums. As we come to understand the important difference between up-front and monthly costs, a change in the way we discuss housing expenses is almost certainly on the horizon, a change that will establish monthly cost as synonymous with true cost."

Download "Redefining Cost" from Michelle Kaufmann Designs' homepage at For more on Michelle Kaufmann, read the cover story in our sister magazine residential architect's November/December 2008 issue.