Green Building Continues To Rise

Green building is still a growing trend and it is increasingly affecting how our homes are designed and built

By BRIANNA FRIES

The first quarter of the year is almost over and the homebuilding market is looking good. Homes are slowly starting to become more affordable, mortgages seem to be holding steady rather than consistently rising, and builders have shown an incredible amount of creativity in their designs and provided amenities.

One of the most prominent trends in homebuilding market is, of course, the growth of green building. According to a recent report titled World Green Building Trends 2018, almost half of all homebuilders worldwide expect to be building green by the year 2021. In North America alone, over 85 percent of respondents stated they do some green building and many expect this number to continue to rise in the coming years.

The study points out that in the U.S alone, nearly 32 percent of respondents expected more than 60 percent of their projects to be green in 2018, with 45 percent of respondents expecting that more than half of their homebuilding projects will be green in 2021. These expectations fit well with studies from the National Home Builders Association from recent years that point out how green construction is gaining traction among both single family and multifamily homebuilders.

Whether a builder is doing it for the affordability aspect, the energy cost savings, the reduced materials waste, the resilience of their buildings, or just the idea that “it’s the right thing to do,” more industry professionals are joining the movement for a multitude of reasons.

The numbers do not lie. In the U.S. and in the world at large, green homebuilding is growing. And it will continue to do so, especially considering how energy-efficient homes have been proven to be healthier and safer than their less eco-friendly counterparts. Benefits like these have also driven up customer demand for green homes, which is adding to the list of reasons for builders to focus more on energy efficiency.

The momentum of green homebuilding has not only created a rising number of builders who are “going green,” but has also made some significant impact on the homebuilding industry as a whole. Building materials, chosen appliances, floor plans, and more have all been impacted by the rise of green homebuilding. Some of the biggest results we have seen include:

  1. Many builders are discovering that they can build new homes on a shorter time frame. Whether it is because the builder is creating a smaller floor plan or chose to go with a prefabricated home, more builders are discovering they enjoy a shorter turnaround on new home builds, meaning less time, energy, and fuel used in the long run. It also means their projects reach the market that much faster!
  2. More builders are seeking out recycled materials. Salvaged woods and reclaimed tile discarded from refurbished homes, buildings etc. can still be used to get those desired details into a new build with a smaller price tag. Also, recycled materials reduce the impact that a builder has on the environment Using recycled wood, for example, means no extra trees were cut down for your latest project.
  3. Alongside recycled materials, there is also a rise in the decision to choose sustainable building materials. For example, choosing bamboo wood instead of oak or pine because bamboo grows more quickly and requires fewer resources to do so.
  4. Energy-efficient amenities are essentially a given at this stage, even if a home is not marketed for being “green.” Builders have begun to include water and energy saving appliances in their homes including tankless water heaters, energy-efficient HVAC systems, low-flow toilets and faucets, and more. On top of this, many builders are incorporating smart technology into the homes they build to allow better control of these systems, which capitalizes on their energy efficiency and even markets the home better to tech-savvy buyers.
  5. Last, but certainly not least, many homes are being made to incorporate renewable energy sources. Largely seen as solar power and some wind power, a rapidly growing number of homes and large communities can be found that use renewable, sustainable energy sources.

While many of these trends have also been known to drive up the initial cost of a home, they more than make up for it in the long run as they provide residents with major savings on their bills each year. Especially for those builders who are discovering ways to create net zero energy homes (homes that create more energy than they use), the benefits have become very apparent. As it turns out, building green can mean saving some green, too!

Almost everyone is doing it. And if you are not yet, it may be time to hop on board the green homebuilding train!

Brianna Fries is the Assistant Editor for Green Home Builder magazine. She may be reached at brianna@penpubinc.com.