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05/03/2012 02:24 PM     print story email story  

Energy Efficiency Now Pervasive in New Homes

SustainableBusiness.com News

The greening of the home building and renovation industry has hit its stride with over 80% of builders saying energy efficient features are now pervasive in new homes. 

And customers' top request is now for green homes that can reduce utility bills. 

Indoor air quality is also growing in importance, with 95% of high volume home builders saying they include features that improve air quality to meet customer demand.

People now view green as being higher quality in terms of durability and air quality, while also saving them money.

The data is from the latest edition of McGraw-Hill Construction's SmartMarket report, which surveyed members of the National Association of Home Builders.

"In the current residential market, there is an enormous need to differentiate your homes for consumers," says Harvey Bernstein of McGraw-Hill Construction. "When builders are able to offer homes that not only are green, but also offer the combination of higher quality and better value, they have a major competitive edge over those building traditional homes."

The share of green homes in the total construction market was 17% in 2011, representing $17 billion in investment, and is  expected to rise to 29%-38% by 2016, potentially a $87-114 billion opportunity. The figures are based on the five-year forecast for overall residential construction.

By 2016, most home builders say that green building technologies will be used in 90% of projects and 33% say they will be dedicated to green building. 35% of architects, engineers and contractor (AEC) positions are now green.

Nearly 18,000 housing units have received LEED for Homes certification, and 50% of those are affordable housing, says the USGBC.

And 25% of all single-family homes built in 2010 earned EPA's Energy Star - 108,000 homes. 

The persistent cost barrier associated with green building is finally diminishing. A much lower percentage of builders cite higher upfront costs for green features than they did in 2008.

Durability and better materials are key reasons why green homes and remodeling projects are considered of higher quality. More than half of customers consider durable materials one of the most important features in their homes today. 

"These findings confirm the shift we've seen in the market," says Jim Halter, Vice President, Construction Solutions for Waste Management. "Builders and remodelers are placing more emphasis on energy efficiency, increases in sustainability focused waste management practices and more products made from post-consumer materials. These important factors are pushing our industry forward."

Recently, the US Green Building Council and Home Depot created LEED Home Depot, where contractors and homeowners can easily find green building products.

Canaccord Genuity expects green building's share of the world construction market to be over 20% by 2013.

Austin Energy's Green Building program in Texas - the first green building program in the US - says that a third of single-family building permits are now for green-building rated homes. 

It reached a milestone of rating its 10,000th single-family home today - the program began in 1991. The program awards homes ratings of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest for incorporating environmental and energy-saving features into the design and construction of the home.

It addresses energy, water, and material efficiency, sustainable site practices, indoor environmental quality, education, innovation, and social equity in the construction of buildings. The rating system is tailored to local climate conditions, local industry and economic realities.



Reader Comments (1)

Author:
Ernest M. Fazio

Date Posted:
05/08/12 06:53 PM

It takes time for a concept to take hold at the ordinary buyer level. Auto companies resisted seat belts and air bags because they had a negative image. As if we car buyers were not aware of the danger of being killed in a car was beyond our understanding. i agree some people do ignore facts and whistle past the graveyard, and they sometimes wind up whistling in the grave yard. Well..not whistling, but lying very still.

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