The Gravitation Toward A Greener Future Takes A Pause, But Will Be Booming Again

The housing market is set up for a huge bounce back with sustainability at the forefront

BRIAN ALVARADO

Before the global pandemic, more and more builders were beginning to turn their attention to more sustainable building solutions and designs due to numerous reasons, including a change in con- sumer preference.

Not only was the movement gaining traction, but the housing market and economy in general was riding strong, with lower mortgage rates, strong builder confidence, and an unemploy- ment rate that had fell to a U.S. 50-year low at 3.5 percent.

Now, the economy has taken a back seat. The focus has been shifted away from the health of the economy and more toward the well being of mankind. Jobs everywhere have been impacted, with millions out of work. New York, Illinois, and California are just a few of many states that have ordered its citizens to stay at home.

However, given the circumstances before the pandemic, the housing market is set to bounce back strong. A reduced carbon imprint due to the outbreak will also pave a clear path for greener building methods and standards.

Eco-friendly Market

As mentioned by Sam Rashkin in The GHB Interview on page 90, there are about 22,300 homes across the United States and Canada that are certified through some form of green program.

One of the many reasons for this shift is because consumer preferences were beginning to lean toward an environmentally mindful stance. All signs pointed to consumers wanting to do their part to help the environment in any way, shape, or form.

According to a survey conducted by strategy and consulting company Accenture that reeled in over 30,000 responses in 2018, over 60 per- cent said they were attracted to businesses that believed in reducing plastics and improving the environment.

In a previous interview with Green Home Builder Magazine in 2018, President and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council Mahesh Ramanujam shared his insight on the change in consumer preference.

“Consumers are equally asking for a more sustainable and equitable future for all, and are increasingly making their spending choices on that basis,” said Ramanujam.

And as government mandates like California’s Title 24 adjusted the standards for new homes in 2020, the expectation for being better prepared for even stricter building codes were forcing the hand of builders to realign their priorities.

Housing Market

The full economic repercussions have yet to rear its ugly head, however experts are indicat- ing that there’s reason to be optimistic.

In an interview with Builder and Developer Magazine, National Association of Homebuilders Chairman Dean Mon shared a glimmer of hope.

“The economy was in solid shape at the start of 2020,” said Mon. “All things considered, history suggests a robust rebound will follow this significant but temporary shock to the economy.”

Regular contributor for Builder and Developer Magazine Patrick Duffy of MetroIntelligence also reiterated Mon’s insight and expects a recovery.

“Reactions such as quarantines, travel re- strictions, businesses temporarily closing and citizens isolating at home will certainly impact economic growth,” said Duffy. “As a result, expect a pause of uncertain duration, to be fol- lowed by a rebound.”

A Glimpse Of A Clean Future

Because of the outbreak, about 40 percent of the economy is on full or partial pause, accord- ing to Mon. Many jobs, including those in the energy and oil sector, have taken a hit. However, many can take this negative as a positive.

According to an article in the Atlantic Coun- cil, Director of Global Energy Center Randolph Bell sees the carbon imprint dropping, giving us a glimpse of what a clean energy future would look like, using China, which is much further down the pandemic road than the U.S., as an example.

“The NASA satellite images of pollution re- duction in China are truly remarkable, following an emissions drop of 25 percent over four weeks of lockdown—suggesting what a future powered by clean energy could look like,” said Bell.

Given the potential positive implications of a drop in carbon emission, the push for sustain- able solutions will be at a forefront and some- thing that policy-makers must consider once the outbreak is contained.

As mentioned before, these are strange times we’re living in. Nobody’s ever seen a pandemic just like this one, and it seems as if we’re learn- ing something new each day about COVID-19. However, once the economy gets back on its feet and the outbreak is contained, the green home building industry will thrive. With the housing market set up for a huge rebuttal and other countries showing positive signs of a cleaner future due to the carbon reduction, a sustainable future for builders is inevitable.

Brian Alvarado is an Assistant Editor at Green Home Builder Magazine. He can be reached at brian@builder.media