Builders are going green, according to a survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/ Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. Single-family builders often use 10 or more “green” products and practices, and, according to the survey, 22 percent almost always have their homes certified to one of several green standards, including National Green Building Standard (NGBS), Energy Star, LEED, and state and local programs. However, 48 percent have never or almost never had their homes certified.
The survey asked 337 builders if they used any of 21 specific green products drawn from a NGBS list. It found that the majority of builders, 95 percent, use energy efficient windows, and 92 percent of builders use high efficiency HVAC systems.
The survey gave builders the option to write in other green practices or features that they may be using or specifically note if they use none of the products on the list. Every builder who responded reports using at least one of the items on the list.
Where are these homes most popular? Last year, Redfin analyzed data to find which neighborhoods in the U.S. were the “greenest”. Looking at the number of homes listed in a specific neighborhood which included green features, Redfin ranked Villanova in Philadelphia’s Main Line as the “greenest” neighborhood, with 57 percent of homes classified as “green”. However, many of these homes are not new. Philadelphia’s Main Line area is a relatively old and historic area, and full of older homes that have been updated to be more efficient, Redfin reports.
While older homes are being updated, new homes are still more than likely going to be green. Although 48 percent of builders never or almost never have their homes green certified, these builders still tend to use at least nine of the green products or practices listed by the NGBS. Builders who always or almost always use at 11.9 of the products listed, on average. Using this data, the NAHB notes that it would only take minor changes for more builders to qualify for green certification.