GOODBYE GRID: In a Hudson Valley cul-de-sac 70 miles north of New York City, there are homes under construction that offer prospective buyers wooded lots, lovely views and a chance to stick it to the utility man.
CONTAIN YOURSELVES: These "zero-net energy" homes will feature thick walls, solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling systems, meaning that owners should be able to generate more energy over a year than they consume. Each house has a $39,000 geothermal system and a $29,000 solar system, but those costs are mitigated in New York by federal and state tax credits and rebates that bring combined costs down to $32,600.
ZERO SUM: Three-bedroom houses in this development start at $399,000. But the real selling point is the long-term savings in energy costs. One owner said he saves about $5,500 a year in utility costs compared to his previous house.