In a slow housing market, many developers are looking to green features to set themselves apart from the competition. With increasing concern about energy costs, climate change, and indoor air quality, the market is ripe for green building. Market forces at work, with environmentally sound options excelling.
“There are not enough green builders out there, and demand is exceeding the homes available,” says Harvey Bernstein, Vice President of Industry Analytics, Alliances and Strategic Initiatives for McGraw-Hill Construction. Meanwhile quantity of certified green homes being built is growing rapidly.
Nearly 100,000 homes have been built and certified under voluntary green building programs across the country since the mid-1990s, with a 50% increase from 2004.
Research also shows that people are willing to pay more for energy efficient features. A study conducted by the Appraisal Institute found that homebuyers are willing to pay $10-$25 more for a home for every $1 saved in energy costs per year. The implications of this are significant for both new and existing homes.
Solar hot water heaters, solar electric systems (in some areas), insulation, new windows, energy star appliances, high efficiency water heaters or HVAC systems may have an instant payback. It is likely that this trend will continue, as energy costs increase faster than inflation. Natural gas prices for example tripled or quadrupled since 1995 in many areas of the country.
The market is looking favorably on green building. Even without many of the true environmental costs being included in prices, such as the financial cost of asthma from air pollution, water contamination from mining, or loss of biodiversity, the market is favoring green buildings.