Environmentally responsible standards are slowly being incorporated into mainstream residential development. Large developers have already begun to facilitate the installation of green homes into the U.S. housing sector. Recent years have witnessed a steady increase in energy efficient homes, even throughout the recession.
According to data provided by McGraw Hill Construction, green homes contributed $25 billion to the housing market and accounted for approximately 20 percent of all newly built homes in 2012. Analysts predict this upward trend will continue well into 2016, as energy efficient green homes are expected to reach between 29 percent and 38 percent of all new U.S. properties.
“The green homes market has evolved beyond the crunchy-granola, Boulder types,” said David Johnston, a Colorado consultant and co-author of “Toward a Zero Energy Home.” “We have mainstream builders doing this.”
Federal tax credits have served to promote the installation of environmentally friendly features. Incorporating the following elements into a home may increase a homeowner’s refund:
- Energy Star rated
- Energy efficient lighting
- Insulated windows
- Ceiling fans
- Hardwood floor
- Low flow faucets, toilets and shower heads
- Drought tolerant landscaping
- Geothermal heat pumps
While going green may promote higher construction costs, a recent reduction in material prices has allowed the average homeowner to participate in the recent trend. According to Bruce W. McIntosh, chief operating officer of Nexus Energy Homes, green homes will only cost between five and 10 percent more than the average house.
Research suggests that the addition of green features to a home will increase its value when it comes time to sell. A 2012 study by two professors at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Los Angeles found that homes in California with a green label sell for about nine percent more than a comparable, less ecological house.
According to an Executive Summary Issued by the EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities, environmentally conscious investments such as this are “attractive to private-sector interests because they can find a ready market and compete financially. They appeal to local governments because they can be the building blocks of a growing economy and high-quality, economically sustainable neighborhoods and communities while also helping to create a cleaner, healthier environment.”
The benefits of going green are starting to catch the eyes of consumers. As more people become environmentally conscious and fiscally responsible, trends in green housing will continue to rise.