Q. I see new home communities advertising that they’re “green.” Is this a fad or a trend for the future?
A. A newly released study on sustainable, high-performance homebuilding practices indicates homebuyers and homebuilders alike are increasingly embracing and energy-efficient construction.
Earlier this month, the National Association of Home Builders and McGraw Hill Construction released a SmartMarket Report titled, “Green Multifamily and Single Family Homes: Growth in a Recovering Market.” The study estimates that 84 percent of single-family homebuilders and 79 percent of multifamily homebuilders will be involved in green residential construction by 2018 based on builders’ increasing use of environmentally sensitive products and systems in recent years.
The 64-page report states there are three main factors influencing builders’ decision to construct this type of housing: energy cost increases; code, ordinance and regulation changes; and green product availability/affordability.
The report is at www.nahb.org; and search for McGraw Hill.
The study reported a growing number of builders find that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the long-term value this type of housing can provide; consumers are willing to pay about 3 percent more upfront for features that will reduce their utility bills and overall cost of homeownership over time. That percentage has remained consistent since NAHB and McGraw Hill began tracking this trend in 2006. Additionally, some buyers may qualify for a federal tax credit for energy-efficient features in the home, which is likely to help offset some of the initial costs for those features.
The study defined a green home as one incorporating environmentally sensitive site planning; resource efficiency; energy and water efficiency; improved indoor air quality; and homeowner education or projects that would comply with the NAHB/International Codes Council’s “ICC 700 National Green Building Standard” or other credible rating system, such as LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy &Environmental Design program.
An increasing number of local homebuilders now offer this type of home in metropolitan Las Vegas.
Consumers can find the homes by visiting the website, www.vegasnewhome.com, and selecting “Green Features” in the Home Type/Amenities selection on the left side of the page.
Builders expect this trend to continue for some time. NAHB and McGraw Hill report that many studies indicate people in their 20s consider environmental concerns of high importance. About 35 percent of multifamily builders and 17 percent of single family builders said customers request green features because they are better for the environment, according to the study results.
Single-family builders are ramping up their sustainable, high-performance offerings to accommodate this emerging market segment.
Please send your questions or comments about new homes to email@example.com. We will try to answer as many questions as we can given space and time limitations and constraints. For more information about SNHBA, visit www.snhba.com.
Rob McGibney, Las Vegas division president at KB Home, is the 2014 president of the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association, the largest and oldest trade organization representing the residential construction industry in Nevada.