We recently calculated that running an air conditioner every day to keep a small 2 bedroom home cool that was not designed for Hawaii’s tropical climate would cost between $450 to $1000 a month for electricity. That extra monthly expense is the equivalent to an additional $100,000 to $225,000 that could have been used toward a mortgage at 3.5% interest.
If this monthly expense for electricity was income generated from a savings account paying 0.2% interest (sadly a common interest rate these days) it would take a savings account of $2.7 million to $6 million just to generate the $5,400 to $12,000 annual cost for electricity.
Surprisingly, homes in Hawaii designed for the tropics to minimize the cost of electricity and homes designed for cold climates that are solar ovens requiring continuous air conditioning are often priced the same.
Although the financial benefits are enormous when a home does not require air conditioning, the enjoyment and health benefits of having fresh, tropical breezes blowing through your home is yet another huge value in a house designed for Hawaii.