10 green building predictions for 2012

Earth Advantage Institute announced its annual prediction of 10 green building trends to watch in 2012.

By Mary Beth Nevulis, HousingZone Contributing Editor | January 18, 2012
green homes, energy efficient homes, home builder, homebuilder

Earth Advantage Institute, a nonprofit green building resource that has certified more than 12,000 homes, announced its annual prediction of 10 green building trends to watch in 2012.

The trends range from a boom in certified multi-family construction to the advent of consumer friendly home energy technology.

  1. Urban density. Millennials and boomers alike are choosing to live in the city where they can be closer to cultural activity, mass transit, more sustainable lifestyles, and other like-minded people, and builders must create more living space.
  2. Green multifamily homes. Earth Advantage Institute has seen a large spike in Northwest multifamily building certifications this past year, hinting that we might see a rise in certifications in 2012 as well.
  3. Energy upgrades start to drive home remodels. Builders and remodelers who are plugged into changing consumer preferences (smaller homes, reduced energy bills) have been able to capitalize on energy upgrade work.
  4. Deployment and testing of new materials. Although architects and builders are eager to try to new energy-saving materials and systems, these products require significant testing to ensure that the materials and benefits will last the life of the building and to avoid litigation.
  5. Consumer friendly home energy tracking devices. The introduction of the Apple-like Nest Learning Thermostat, and Belkin’s Conserve Insight energy use monitor that tracks energy use by appliance, are two of many sensor-based energy and water monitoring products for the home that are easy to use and help save money. Large electronics players like Fujitsu and Intel are also developing products, among others.
  6. Energy education for commercial tenants. The growing adoption of commercial building energy disclosure (New York; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Seattle; Austin) has building owners/operators and utilities seeking effective ways to educate tenants on saving energy.
  7. Transparency in home marketing. Builders, remodelers, and real estate professionals who can clearly educate their clients about the benefits and features of energy efficient, green homes will be those who earn the buyers’ confidence.
  8. More accurate appraisals. The ability for sellers and buyers to ask their banks for a green-certified appraiser means that the lending community will be open to the idea of the additional value and ROI offered by new certified homes and remodels.
  9. Broader adoption of residential energy ratings for homes. Energy labeling systems are appearing in many states, offering estimates of a home’s energy consumption for homebuyers and homeowners.
  10. Smart grid-compatible high-performance homes. Increasing numbers of home appliances are gaining the ability to monitor and report their own usage and to increase or decrease their electricity usage by remote command.


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