Matthew LindenIs pink the new green? You betcha! And at the forefront of this movement is Matthew Linden, the gay Co-founder of ConsciousBuild, a California creator of custom environmentally-friendly luxury homes. His high-end projects are constructed using reusable, renewable and recyclable products with minimal impact on the environment. Of course, these days we can’t mention housing without talking money and Matthew dishes below about all things green.

1. Has the economy and mortgage crisis had an effect on your business?
Yes, but not in the way one might think. I build very high-end “green” luxury homes, the buyers of which are not as easily effected by swings in the economy, nor the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

However, there are a lot of people in my industry out of work with a lot fewer homes being built. I have never had so many subcontractors coming to my construction sites looking for work – and their prices are getting more competitive.

2. What amount does building green add on to the final price of a home?

“Building green” is building responsibly. A home built “green” is a better quality home that is healthier to live in and will last longer. I am finding that “going green” is adding approximately 3%-5% to the bottom line of my luxury home product.

3. Will it have any impact on the resale value?
Yes, a significant impact. The value added to a “green” building project can be as much at 30%, especially in this market where the building industry in general is in a slump and “green” building is on the rise and such a hot topic.

4. What is your most significant memory about money?
The contracts my parents made with me when I was younger in order to teach me the value of the dollar.

5. What is your worst habit around finances?
I spend without keeping close track of my finances, as if money grows on trees. I ignore really important bills until the very last minute, as if they will go away if I do.

6. What are three things a current homeowner can do to give their house a lighter environmental footstep?
1. Change out all household light bulbs to the fluorescent kind – the impact of this easy action on the environment is significant.

2. Stop watering the lawn and replace it with native drought tolerant planting materials – they are beautiful and help with our water resources.

3. Put on an extra sweater and stop turning on the heating unit at every shiver – it is one of the most wasteful appliances we have all grow too used to using.

7. What did your parents teach you about the value of dollar?
That money doesn’t grow on trees, that it takes hard work to get anywhere in life, to be humble and grateful for what one has and not to flaunt anything.

8. Can a big house still be an environmentally-friendly home?
Absolutely. The bigger the house, the bigger the impact it can make. Americans will keep wanting big homes. I want to show them how to build them responsibly and support the growing “green” building products industry. Size doesn’t matter here – but quality and responsibility does.

9. How does money play a role in your relationships, romantic or otherwise?
Money always plays a role in my relationships. I have dated people without money, and I have taken them on as projects – that doesn’t work. I long to have a relationship where money did not play such a role, I think it would be refreshing.

10. How did you become a business owner?
I always felt that I was smarter than my bosses; that I could run things better. I knew that when I was able to run my own show, things would go smoother, I would make more money and a greater impact, and I would have a lot more fun doing it. That is what has happened; I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to make a difference, and I am loving life while I am doing it.

More about Matthew Linden
Matthew Linden, the Co-founder of ConsciousBuild, LLC, has over twelve years of experience building luxury homes across the United States.’s corporate headquarters is located in San Luis Obispo, California, at the site of its parent company’s latest custom environmentally-friendly luxury home project [CBOne], currently under construction. This 6000 square foot home includes a 900 square foot home office and provides the ideal working showroom to expose clients to the quality of products that sets apart from its competition.

Read other Queercents interviews in the Ten Money Questions archive.