Sustainable Features For Your Home: Solar

Updated July 30, 2020

Sustainable 9

It’s not just a vision for tomorrow: Sustainable 9 Design + Build creates homes for tomorrow today, reflected in its enduring commitment to green, high performance, energy-efficient homes that are stunningly designed and custom-built.

At Sustainable 9, we champion sustainable features when building any home. That’s just one reason we think solar-paneled houses are much more than just a trend. We believe that solar use in residential homes is a wave of the future that will continue to lead to massive strides in sustainability and energy savings.

Today we’re going to share some of the benefits that solar can bring to you as a homeowner, and why you should consider adding to your home.

Whether you’re a new home buyer, building a home, or are living in your dream home, there’s something here for everyone.

Solar-Paneled Houses

Why choose solar? It seems like there are several ways to make your home more sustainable. Wind power or geothermal heating and cooling are both great sustainable features options to add to your home. We focus on solar because, in many ways, it’s more efficient, has a longer lifespan, and has a lower installation cost.

How Much Does Solar Save?

So how much can you save with solar? While solar panels are expensive to install, they will help to reduce your energy bill and can pay for themselves twice over. How much money you save depends initially on the cost of your electric bill. Along with location, energy consumption based on your home’s size will play into this.

The average homeowner in Minneapolis, Minnesota, will save approximately $84.73 per month on solar when they install the recommended number of panels. If we use this figure and your solar panels cost $15,000 to install, you’ll pay them off in just about 15 years. If for some reason, your energy consumption goes down and you’re able to pay more towards your solar loan than what you would have paid for your energy bill, then you can pay them off even sooner.

As the cost of electricity rises, solar panels will become even more valuable. And, after they’ve paid for it you’ll be granted free electricity for more than 30 years!

How to Calculate and get the Most Out of Your Solar

Calculating how much solar you need for your home can seem tricky, but it’s not too bad. First, you’ll need to get an accurate average of how much you’re paying monthly for electricity. Many websites will allow you to enter that figure and then your zip code. With that, they can give you the average number of panels and cost for your area.

Another, more accurate and specific way to do it, is to determine your home’s average energy requirements. Then you’ll take that number multiplied by the average number of hours you’ll have peak sunlight hours. Finally, you can divide that number by a low-wattage panel (150w) and a high-wattage panel (370w) to get a good range of how many panels you might need. Here is an example:

sustainable features

Residential Solar Resale Value

As with any home improvement project, you’re going to want to get your money back out of the project. Why would you want to put thousands and thousands of dollars into a solar panel system if you’re not going to get any of that investment back?

Something you might not expect from technology is that solar holds its value remarkably well. On average, homes with solar will see a 4.1% higher value and will sell for that much more when on the market. That’s a significant amount. Consider a home valued at $400,000, adding solar to it would raise the home’s value by $16,400.

While solar installation on a larger house would cost around $20,000 – $25,000, you’ll still be saving money on your electricity while also adding value to your home for when you do choose to resell.

Sustainably-Built Homes

New home white and blue home finished construction project

Homes that are built sustainably provide the perfect foundation for solar. A sustainable home will be more efficient in its energy usage and will require fewer solar panels for more savings. Sustainable homes are homes that are built to standards beyond that of state and local regulations. Eco-friendly homes are those that have been built to passive house standards or other similar sustainability guidelines. A green home will include sustainable features such as:

  • Optimizing site potential. Adjust the direction of the home in relation to the street, sun, and possible incoming severe weather. Conserve trees, waterways, and other natural landmarks.
  • Minimizing energy use and using renewable energy strategies. Build using efficient materials, insulation, windows, doors, and other features that lock in the desired temperature and provide your home with a comfortable atmosphere.
  • Conserving and protecting water. Build the home properly so that there are no leaks, run-off is managed and re-directed appropriately, and water is conserved.
  • Using environmentally preferable products. Salvaged, reclaimed, recycled, and other similar products should be preferred over other, less environmentally friendly products.
  • Enhance indoor environmental quality. Design the home to provide excellent thermal and visual qualities that boost the overall aesthetic and quality of living.
  • Optimizing operations and maintenance practices. Products that conserve energy and provide a more appropriate and cost-effective life-cycle.
  • Flex-space design. A space designed to be used in many different lights. Future adaptations extend the life of the space without the need for major renovations.

If you’re looking for a sustainably built home that offers both comfort and energy savings, then we’d love to hear from you. At Sustainable 9, we’re committed to providing you with a comfortable and sustainable home that is equipped with sustainable features and built to last.

Our homes are 62% more energy-efficient than standard new construction homes. We use no VOC or toxins in any of the homes that we build, and our homes are 70% tighter and less leaky than standard new construction homes. That means you save money while also living in a luxury home. This home, located in Shakopee, Minnesota, is an excellent example of the craftsmanship that S9 is committed to.

We can’t wait to hear from you!


A custom-built home means you don’t have to sacrifice the details that make your home one-of-a-kind. View our award-winning work and get inspired.

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Sustainable 9

It’s not just a vision for tomorrow: Sustainable 9 Design + Build creates homes for tomorrow today, reflected in its enduring commitment to green, high performance, energy-efficient homes that are stunningly designed and custom-built.

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More energy efficient than a standard new construction home* *based on HERS ratings


0% Stinky. Committed to - reducing or eliminating VOCs and toxins in the homes we build* *Receiving the EPA's Indoor AirPlus certification on every home we build


Tighter and less leaky than a standard new construction home* *based on blower door test/air leakage results

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