Be Green, Not Green with Envy: Research Confirms Green Home Building Is On The Rise
by Jennifer Tung
According to a recent study conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics, in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders, the percentage of “green” multifamily and single family homes is on the rise. While not specific to California, the trends identified in the study provide insight into where green building is going both nationally and locally.
For example, the study found:
- In 2017, 33 percent of all single family home builders had either “high involvement” in green construction (i.e., 61 – 90 percent of their projects were “green”) or were “dedicated” green builders (i.e., more than 90 percent of their projects were “green”). The number of single family home builders working predominantly on green projects is expected to rise to 44 percent by 2022;
- In 2017, 36 percent of multifamily home builders had either high involvement in green construction or were dedicated green builders. This is expected to increase to 47 percent by 2022, with nearly 40 percent of respondents expecting to be dedicated green builders.
Study respondents were also asked to identify their top three methods of improving the performance of a green home. While both single family and multifamily home builders cited energy efficiency and “healthy indoor living environment” as their top two practices, multifamily builders placed a greater emphasis on water efficiency than did single family builders. In drought-prone California, however, water efficiency is likely high on all new home builders’ (and home owners’) priority lists.
What may particularly interest Californians, however, are the study’s findings with respect to Zero Net Energy (ZNE) homes. In 2015, 21 percent of respondents had built a ZNE home. By 2017, that percentage increased to 29 percent. Almost half of the study’s respondent’s expected to build at least one ZNE home in the next two years. With California’s goal that all new residential buildings be ZNE by 2020, and all new commercial structures be ZNE by 2030, we can expect these growing trends to continue.
California has long been a leader in green technology, and its construction industry is no exception. Far from being a flash in the pan, this study suggests that green building will soon become the norm, rather than the exception. Given the Golden State’s energy and sustainability goals, California contractors have a unique opportunity to lead the charge into the green building future.