Study: Builders Increasingly Focusing on High-Performance Building Practices

Filed in Sustainability and Green Building by on January 21, 2020 3 Comments

Home builders across the country are prioritizing high-performance building practices in their projects, regardless of whether they consider the home they are building to be “green,” according to new research published in the 2020 Green Single Family and Multifamily Homes SmartMarket Brief.

The latest in a series of studies conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics, in partnership with NAHB, finds that almost all builders are incorporating energy-efficient practices and over two-thirds are using practices designed to improve indoor air quality and water efficiency.

Key findings include:

  • 91% of home builders use energy-efficient approaches, and 69% do so on the majority of their projects. These practices may include the use of LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances and appropriately-sized, highly efficient HVAC systems;
  • Energy efficiency and durability are the top influential green attributes in product/system selection;
  • Over two-thirds use practices designed to improve indoor environmental quality and water efficiency; and
  • 97% of green builders report using energy efficiency practices on more than 75% of their projects.

“These findings complement the results of a recent NAHB study where home buyers ranked high-performance products and practices among the top features they want in a home,” said John Barrows, NAHB Sustainability and Green Building Subcommittee Chair and founder of B3 Builder Group in Bridgehampton, N.Y. “This shows us that the value of home performance is increasing among builders and consumers.”

The study reveals both customer demand and perceptions about performance are driving green engagement. Most builders believe that the top factors influencing consumer decisions about whether to invest in a green home are concerns about cost and performance, with related issues — like their return on investment and the quality of the home — following close behind.

However, most builders and remodelers say it’s a careful balance of production with demand. Lack of market demand was cited as the top reason why many companies are not ramping up their green building. Nearly half (42%) of single-family and almost one-third (31%) of multifamily builders reported doing no green projects at all.

Cost is also a major influencer in the green building market. However, 70% of single-family home builders believe that their customers will pay more for a green home, suggesting that many home buyers understand the benefits of green.

Overall, the results of the study provide an insightful snapshot of the current market trends and will likely be used as a benchmark moving forward in future studies. The full report is available for free download at nahb.org/smr or construction.com/toolkit/reports.

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