July 22 — If there is one “cool” trend in home building today, it is going green. A number of factors have come together to make the green (environmentally sustainable) movement the potential saving grace of struggling home builders across the world. In fact, a McGraw-Hill Construction/National Association of Home Builders study predicts that “The market for green housing will grow to from as little as $12 billion this year to between $40B and $70B by 2012.”
Obviously the high price of oil is factor number 1. With oil prices skyrocketing, residential buildings, which account for 21% of U.S. energy consumption (source: U.S. Energy Information Administration), are an easy target for money-saving ideas.
At the same time, environmental awareness and interest (thank you Al Gore) has never been higher. Taken together, it is no surprise that a recent Harris Interactive poll by Move, Inc. (operator of Realtor.com) showed potential homebuyers more interested in green features in homes than they were in luxury amenities. The survey found that almost half of (49 percent) said features such as solar panels or energy-saving appliances were “important,” compared to just 31 percent who rated luxury amenities important.
Investing a few extra hundred or even thousand dollars in energy conservation has a faster and faster payback as energy prices climb. Builders are taking notice, offering homes with enhanced conservation and even energy generating feaures. Meanwhile California became the first state in the U.S. to adopt a new building code that requires a number of energy-conserving building practices across that giant state. The code approved by the California Building Standards Commission mandated measures including recycling of construction waste, energy savings, potable water conservation, etc. Other communities such as Marin County, California and Aspen Colorado also have imposed green building code requirements. LEED’s Certification, which sets certain standards (Gold, Silver, Bronze) for energy conservation, etc. are also being developed and considered elsewhere.
Check out all the interesting “green” building articles in the July 2008 issue of Builderonline.com
Here’s a cool video on how one “Builder fights rising energy costs”
Looking for Green Communities