The Green Line

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Builders and architects plan to certify more high-performance homes, but there's a limit as to how green they will go.

Builders and architects plan to certify more high-performance homes, but there‘s a limit as to how green they will go.

Builders used energy-efficient windows in 90 percent of their projects. Photo: Scott Schram/Creative Commons

November 09, 2015

METHODOLOGY & RESPONDENT INFORMATION

This survey was distributed between September 10 and October 13 2015, to a random sample of Professional Builder’s print and digital readers. No incentive was offered. By closing date, a total of 100 eligible readers returned completed surveys. Respondent breakdown by discipline: 38 percent custom home builder; 21 percent diversified builder/remodeler; 15 percent production builder for move-up/move-down buyers; 11 percent architect/designer engaged in home building; 6 percent multifamily; 2 percent luxury production builder; 1 percent production builder for first-time buyers; and 6 percent other. Approximately 53.9 percent of respondents sold one to five homes in 2014, and 15.4 percent sold more than 50 homes.

The majority of builders, designers, and architects who completed Professional Builder’s Green Survey plan to have the bulk of their projects certified green, and most indicated that clients are paying a premium, though small, for an energy-efficient home. Yet this year’s survey revealed a sentiment against “extreme green” as builders are sticking primarily with more familiar products in windows, appliances, HVAC systems, insulation, and sealing practices to deliver a high-performance house.

As far as the newer bells and whistles, respondents wrote that the lack of demand, higher costs, and the inability to measure whether some green features really work kept them from delving much beyond building a tight envelope and installing Energy Star appliances. As one Arizona custom home builder wrote, “I need to be in the black. When you mix green into it, most of the time you get mud.” See the charts for more results.

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