Line Between Traditional and Green Home Construction Fades

AEN News

Washington - As the nation prepares to celebrate Earth Day, home building finds itself at the brink of a new era with the line between traditional and green building continuing to fade, said National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) leaders at a press teleconference.

"Since the 1990s, the National Association of Home Builders has been preparing our members for the time when green building goes mainstream. On Earth Day 2006, I think the goal is in sight. We are that close," said NAHB Executive Vice President Jerry Howard in the teleconference.

According to a recent survey conducted by NAHB and McGraw Hill Construction, there has been a 20 percent increase since last year in builders dedicated to green building issues. The number is expected to rise by another 30 percent in 2007 to 64 percent of builders either heavily or moderately involved in green building projects, the survey said.

Howard and NAHB Green Building Subcommittee chair Ray Tonjes, a custom builder in Austin, Texas, attributed the soaring numbers to the increased availability of energy efficient materials and to education - both for builders and for home buyers. "Green homes are equipped with more efficient heating and cooling systems and energy efficient appliances and lighting, and they use less water, all resulting in lower monthly utility bills. Their use of recycled materials will further help to conserve natural resources," Tonjes said.

NAHB Research Center Vice President of Contract Research Tom Kenney agreed. "Over the past decade, material suppliers have developed alternatives to lumber- since old-growth solid lumber is such a highly valued and increasingly scarce resource," he told callers. "These engineered materials are resource efficient and are currently used throughout the country." "We can call green building mainstream when it doesn't look or feel significantly different from the kinds of homes that buyers are used to - and when we know that consumers are ready to buy them," Howard said.

"When the survey asked home builders why they are building green, 92 percent said it was 'because it's the right thing to do.' I am certainly not surprised. Home builders want to do the right thing in the communities where they live and where they do business. They always have done that," Howard said. Complete survey results will be available from McGraw Hill Construction in May.