A few years ago, I was having a lively conversation with a colleague and he was adamant that green building was just a fad – a buzzword that mainstream builders would never embrace. He also said that cost is the only thing that matters when it comes to new construction. This conversation has always stood out in my mind as I’m sure he wasn’t the only one who felt that way. But, new data suggests that these skeptics might want to reconsider their stance.

In late September, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Dodge Data & Analytics released Green Multifamily and Single-Family Homes 2017 SmartMarket Brief, an eye-opening report that indicates that green building isn’t only catching on, it’s becoming the norm.

Case in point (from the report):

  • At least one-third of single-family and multifamily builders build at least 60 percent of their projects green;
  • By 2022, that number is expected to increase from one-third to one-half of builders;
  • 29 percent of single-family home builders have built a net zero home in the past two years;
  • Fewer builders are concerned about higher upfront costs of green building as demand grows, and;
  • 54 percent of multifamily builders find green homes easier to market than traditional ones.

The reasons for adopting green building practices have also shifted. In 2014, the two factors that dominated the survey were the prospect of building higher-quality products and changes in codes, ordinances and regulations. Today, the reasons for building green are more evenly spread across all categories with consumer demand only slightly higher than the rest, which to me indicates that builders are seeing universal benefits of green building rather than focusing on just a couple of drivers as it becomes more widely adopted.

And last, but not least – which green features are the most widely adopted in single-family and multifamily construction?

More than 95 percent of respondents are incorporating energy-efficient HVAC systems, lighting, appliances and products that impact the efficiency of the building envelope, including insulation and, of course, windows. Notably, 98 percent of single-family and 100 percent of multifamily builders are using windows that exceed code mandates. And those doing 60 percent or more of the projects green almost universally rate energy-efficient windows as important.

The View from Here is that this is all good news for us as an industry. What we need to continue doing is educating builders and seeking new opportunities with this growing segment. Even those who were once skeptics might have no other choice but to become believers. It appears this one-time fly-by-night trend is proving to be a mainstay among builders.

For more information, download the full Green Multifamily and Single-Family Homes 2017 SmartMarket Brief.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *