Energy Efficiency and Healthy Homes: Top Motivators and Practices in the Single-Family Market

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The 2020 Green Single Family and Multifamily Homes SmartMarket Brief asked single-family builders who self-identified as green builders (building at least half of their projects green) why they choose to build green, and what their top practices and strategies are to improve green home performance.

More than two-thirds of those surveyed build green projects because they believe it is the right thing to do. Other top reasons to build green include creating healthier homes, meeting market demand and differentiating their product in their local market, which are compelling market opportunities for builders considering entering this market segment.

Energy efficiency is the predominant top practice of nearly all green home builders surveyed. As noted in the full report, almost all respondents (91%) are using energy-efficient practices to some extent, whether or not they identify as green, and two-thirds of all builders do so on at least 75% of their homes, illustrating how the mainstream home building industry is increasing the use of green building practices.

Building to create a healthier indoor living environment, also known as improving indoor environmental quality, is a practice heavily utilized by single-family builders who responded. Almost half of the green builders cite it as a top way to improve green home performance, and two-thirds of all builders are employing strategies to achieve this practice, with 39% doing it for 75% or more of their projects. This is a significant market segment but may also provide opportunity in many areas to differentiate a builder in his/her local market.

A more detailed look at strategies employed by green builders whose portfolios include at least 75% green projects is shown in the final graph. These results complement the previously discussed findings, but also offer insight on other strategies that green builders find beneficial, such as tight building envelopes and high-performance ventilation.

The full report — the latest in a series of studies conducted by Dodge Data & Analysis, in partnership with NAHB — contains results on builders’ perspectives on marketing green homes, drivers and obstacles for green building, and the use of green products and practices.