Green homes, including multifamily construction projects, are continuing to gain market share. According to “The Green Multifamily and Single Family Homes 2017 SmartMarket Brief,” the latest in a series of studies conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), green construction is rapidly gaining traction among both single family and multifamily home builders.

At least one third of single family and multifamily builders who were surveyed said that green building is a significant portion of their overall activity (more than 60 percent of their portfolio). By 2022, this number should increase to nearly one half in both the single family and multifamily sectors. Within this group, nearly 30 percent of multifamily builders fall into the category of “dedicated” green builders (more than 90 percent of their portfolio). On the single family side, the percentage of “dedicated” green builders is nearly 20 percent, but that share is expected to grow sizably by 2022.

“These findings show that green building has become an established part of the residential construction landscape,” says Granger MacDonald, NAHB chairman, and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. “It is no longer a niche business; our members recognize the value of building green and are incorporating these elements into their standard business practices.”

Increasing energy efficiency continues to be the most common method of improving the performance of a green home, followed by creating a healthy indoor living environment.

“As consumers become more familiar with the impact that their homes can have on their health and well-being, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the influence of this factor continue to grow,” adds Steve Jones, Dodge’s senior director of Industry Insights Research. “Homes are following the larger trend that Dodge has been tracking across commercial and institutional sectors for healthier buildings to become an increasingly important part of being sustainable.”

Looking at energy efficiency practices and features in windows specifically, the study found that a much higher percentage of single-family builders compared to multifamily consider those that exceed code mandates as valuable. According to the study, 83 percent of single-family builders consider the importance of windows exceeding code mandates as high/very high, compared to 65 percent of multifamily builders.

While most builders using windows that exceed code mandates consider them valuable, the study also shows that those doing the majority (60 percent) of their projects green universally rate this as an important feature.

The report also found that a considerable number of builders are developing net zero homes or plan to build net zero homes in the near future. Among those surveyed, 29 percent of single family home builders have built a net zero home in the past two years, and 44 percent expect to do so in the next two years. Builders see increased customer demand and a competitive advantage as the top two drivers to develop net zero homes.

Another reason for the rise in net zero homes is the increasing use of renewable technologies, especially solar photovoltaic panels. In two years, the percentage of builders who used these panels increased from 19 to 23 percent. Nearly half (43 percent) of the builders surveyed expect to use this technology in the future.

Looking at multifamily specifically, top drivers for future green building activity include government or utility incentives; customer demand; and changes in codes, ordinances, and regulations. With respect to green building obstacles, multifamily builders are most concerned about the costs associated with green; higher start-up costs; and the unwillingness of consumers to pay more for green construction.


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