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Many builders looking to go green

Date posted:  3/13/15 06:30:00 AM Many homeowners are looking for green features.

There are certain industries that are more important to the American economy than others. One such sector is residential construction, which accounts for a greater percentage of the nation's construction projects than you might expect.

According to McGraw Hill Construction's Dodge Construction Market Forecast, single and multifamily housing projects made up around 45 percent of the value of all construction projects started in the U.S. in 2014

That number isn't expected to stay flat or decrease, either. The forecast from McGraw Hill states that the market for residential construction is expected to increase vastly over the coming years. Much of that has to do with green, energy-friendly construction.

"Greater consumer interest in green homes has contributed to the ongoing growth, leading us to anticipate that by 2016, the green single family housing market alone will represent approximately 26 percent to 33 percent of the market, translating to an $80 billion to $101 billion opportunity based on current forecasts," said Harvey Bernstein, vice president of Industry Insight and Alliances for McGraw Hill Construction.

Bernstein pointed to the report, "Green Multifamily & Single Family Homes: Growth in a Recovering Market," which surveys builders and remodelers from the National Association of Home Builders. The survey revealed that 62 percent of firms building new single family homes said that more than 15 percent of their projects are green. By 2018, the report suggests that 84 percent of the projects will be going green.

Energy efficiency by the numbers
The builder and remodeling respondents stated they the market is starting to grasp the value of green projects in the multifamily and single-family home markets. The report said that 73 percent of single family builders believe consumers will pay more for green homes, which is up from the 61 percent seen in the last McGraw Hill survey. Meanwhile, 68 percent of multifamily builders reported that consumers will pay more for green homes.

"The findings also suggest that lenders and appraisers may be starting to recognize the value of green homes, making it a factor that could help encourage the market to grow if there is more widespread awareness across the U.S.," Bernstein said.

The number of firms primarily dedicated to green projects is also growing. Firms committed to doing more than 90 percent of their projects green is now at 19 percent, the survey expects that number to double to 38 percent by 2018.

"This new study demonstrates phenomenal growth in green building, with more builders engaging in sustainable building practices than ever before," said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the NAHB and a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Delaware. "While growth in green in the single family market is driven more by high quality and customer demand, the multifamily market is more driven by cost factors such as the availability of government or utility incentives, as well as enhancing their competitive position and corporate image."

Kelly said that all of those are major reasons for the homebuilding industry to take on an increasing number of green projects.

Homeowners want green features
Many environmentally conscious homeowners are trying to reduce their eco-footprint through green features. That has led to many people making major and minor upgrades to their homes to improve their energy efficiency.

One way to do so is by taking care of any air leakage in walls, windows, ceilings and floors, which can account for up to 40 percent of the energy lost by your home, according to the Ellwood City Ledger. Air leakages can often by easily stopped with some sealant or caulk, which will improve the lifespan of your air conditioner by making its work a little easier.