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Green Building Is Up While Rest of Building Market is Down

McGraw-Hill Construction, a part of The McGraw-Hill Companies, in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) National Green Building Program, today released the full update to its 2006 study with 2008 green home building data. The new SmartMarket Report, The Green Home Builder: Navigating for Success in a Down Economy, covers market opportunities, key triggers and obstacles, and trends in green home building practices from 2001 to 2007, such as the impact of the down market on this sector.

Major findings include:

  • Forty percent of builders find "building green" makes it easier to market in a down economy; 16% find it makes it much easier.
  • In 2009, 21% of builders expect to be building 90% of projects green.
  • Sixty percent of builders claim homebuyers are willing to pay more for green homes. This is greater than the opinion in 2006 (56%).
  • "Quality" is the top driver behind green home building, which is a shift from the top driver in 2006, "doing the right thing." This seems to indicate that green homebuyers in today's market are not just "green consumers," but are also buying a green home for investment and performance reasons.
  • Fourteen percent of builders find today's homes overall more than 30% more environmentally friendly than two years ago. 85% think that energy-efficient features are the ones making these homes more environmentally friendly.
  • Builders use products that lead to energy efficiency far more than other elements. In particular, they focus on air sealing/tight construction, increased insulation, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, and Energy Star products.
  • The region in the U.S. with the best growth in green building is the Pacific, followed by the South Atlantic and Mountain regions. The East South Central region has the lowest growth.

"Green building has definitely reached its upper tipping point," said Harvey M. Bernstein, McGraw-Hill Construction vice president of Industry Analytics, Alliances and Strategic Initiatives. "Builders can no longer ignore the benefits and market advantages of green building. Especially considering today's market and current economic situation, builders need to differentiate themselves from their competitors and hold steady or prosper in the down economy. Green building gives builders that opportunity to expand their market share and ride out this economic slump."

"Education, training, advocacy and other services that NAHB offers its members help ensure that home builders and remodelers are prepared to go green," said Bob Jones, NAHB vice chairman/treasurer and a Michigan home builder. "This survey clearly indicates that the market is moving toward more sustainable home building practices, and our members are ready."

The report also features special sections detailing government regulations, NAHB Green Home Rating Systems, and case studies on different types of green homes (e.g., customized, affordable, and large productions). Commentary on green-washing, product availability, brand awareness, and certification provides further background data and analysis of the market.

To order a copy of The Green Home Builder: Navigating for Success in a Down Economy, visit

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