Builders eye certifications, products for greener homes
- Homebuilders are getting greener, both in the products and practices they use and in the certifications they and their clients seek for their finished projects, according to a new report from the National Association of Home Builders.
- Of 337 single-family builders responding to a set of questions on the January NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index survey, 22% said they typically certify the homes they build to Energy Star, LEED or state or local green-building programs. Meanwhile, 48% said they never certify their homes according to a green-building standard.
- Energy-efficient windows, high efficiency HVAC, programmable thermostats, Energy Star-rated appliances and sealed ducting were among the most commonly used green building products and practices among survey respondents. Builders used 10.2 of the 21 products and systems listed. Solar water heaters, passive solar design and energy management systems were the least popular.
The NAHB's report evidences builders' and remodelers' continued efforts toward adding environmentally friendly building to their repertoire – uptake that has been slowly gaining traction as the related products and practices gain acceptance among the building community and garner the interest of clients willing to foot the bill.
A recent partnership between the Residential Energy Services Network and the Appraisal Institute will see Home Energy Rating Systems scores included in some appraisals, helping buyers determine the energy efficiency of a home and likely improving financing options for such features. HERS scores will be treated like a green-building certification, such as LEED for Homes, in the reports.
In cities with large carbon footprints, like those in many areas of California, there has been a push to make homes more energy efficient. That's according to Zillow, which reported this past November that cities facing high energy costs, drought conditions and density concerns are more likely than those not facing such factors to advertise energy-efficient home technology in listings there.
Other areas of the country are also pushing to build greener homes. Green-building advocates in Virginia are seeking to update the state's model code, an effort that is drawing the ire of some homebuilders who say it will raise building costs.
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