NAHB: Energy Efficiency Ranks No. 1 in Consumer Green Building Priorities

A new survey conducted for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) confirms that a desire for greater energy efficiency drives consumers to choose a green-built home.

"Green building is the home buyer's best defense against soaring energy costs," said NAHB President Brian Catalde, a Southern California home builder. "But it's up to the nation's home builders to make sure the cure is not more expensive than the problem itself. The NAHB National Green Building Program paves the way for authentic yet cost-effective green building."

The voluntary program, based on the three-year-old NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines, is set to launch Feb. 14, 2008, at the International Builders' Show® in Orlando.

"New technologies, advances in building science and materials for insulation, windows and other components mean that homes are significantly more energy efficient than they used to be," Catalde said. "Still, it's time to take that next step. The NAHB National Green Building Program does that -- and more."

The survey was conducted the week of Oct. 15 by polling firm Public Opinion Strategies.

When 800 registered voters were asked how important certain items would be in their decision to either purchase a new green home or remodel their current home to be more green, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers polled said that "reduced energy costs" would be the most important. The second-highest scoring reason, at 55 percent, was "because it would be healthier." And 49 percent of those surveyed say it's the right thing to do for the environment."

"That's a pretty strong showing for altruism," said Neil Newhouse, partner with Public Opinion Strategies. "But cost is the overriding concern. That's something that all green players -- builders, regulators and advocates -- need to keep topmost in their minds."

The NAHB National Green Building program is being launched in cooperation with the NAHB Research Center. To be certified under the NAHB program, homes must meet energy-efficiency levels that are at least equivalent to Energy Star®, the federal EPA program.

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