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Green Building News

Green Building is a Growing Business

A study by McGraw Hill Construction finds that more builders expect green construction practices to be an important part of their business mix

Green building is growing. Adopting green-building techniques, like the raised-heel trusses and double-stud walls in this Habitat for Humanity net-zero energy house in Colorado, should pay off for mainstream builders, a McGraw Hill study suggests.
Image Credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

A new study from McGraw Hill Construction suggests a number of reasons why builders should get up to speed on green building.

First, the green building market is growing. According to a summary of the report, the green share of the single-family residential market has grown from 2% in 2005 to 23% in 2013 and should reach between 26% and 33% of the market by 2016. That would be worth as much as $105 billion.

Green building grew even during the recent recession. The overall housing market took a nosedive between 2005 and 2008, declining from a value of $315 billion to $122 billion. But the green housing market showed a healthy increase over the same period, from $6 billion in 2005 (2% of the market) to $10 billion (8% of the market) in 2008.

Over the next few years, the industry bumped along, reaching a value of $97 billion by 2011. But green building continued a steady climb to reach $17 billion by 2011.

Both builders and remodelers see green growth ahead

New-home builders seem to be adopting green practices faster than remodelers. In five years, 62% of builders expect to be doing green on more than 60% of their projects, McGraw Hill reports, and 30% expect to be building green on more than 90% of their projects.

By 2018, the study says, 32% of remodelers expect that more than 60% of their projects will be green.

Finally, many builders find customers are willing to pay more for green features.

“Considering the economy, it is notable that over 68% of builders and 84% of remodelers report their customers are willing to pay more for green,” the study says. “Both of these are an increase over the reported results from 2011 where 61% of builders and 66% of remodelers reported the same. The big jump for remodelers may be due to the improving economy and the increased awareness and accessibility to affordable green building products and practices.”

On average, builders say consumers will pay 3% more for green homes and 5% more for green remodeling.

McGraw Hill said findings on the green home marketplace and other results from this study would be published in April in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders. It will be the fourth in the SmartMarket Report series on the green home market.


This post corrects and updates an earlier version of the same story with more recent data.


  1. Expert Member

    Come on now...
    This is research study only in the most debased sense of the term. Does the builder's involvement in Green have any meaningful content at all?

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Response to Malcolm Taylor
    I agree. As far as I can tell, the study did not try to define "green building" -- so all we have is a bunch of builders and remodelers who have decided to describe their own activities as "green."

  3. Expert Member
    ARMANDO COBO | | #3

    NAHB Green Conference
    Is there an NAHB Green Conference this year? When and where? I think this maybe a year or two news...

  4. vpc2 | | #4

    Do the right thing
    The added value could also include those who want and are willing to do the right thing and vote with their wallets.

    McMansions are on the wane for a reason, waist and resource hungry is seen as a negative trait. Look at all the latest hot and most expensive new sports cars, electric or hybrid. Driving a 10mpg hunk is totally uncool. The Koch Brothers be dammed most now feel we are moving into a 'no mans land' of climate change that is in need of immediate action. One thing I hear is the desire to have smaller homes, more efficient homes, smaller cars, use a bike, and live where you work. That with the fact that your McMansion in the boondocks is dropping in value by the day and homes in town and built or retrofitted for efficiency are going up. The oil and gas industry is using alot of the funds given to them by the government to convince us that climate change is a hoax.

    Climate change is now and we need to move on changes asap. Many of our elected officials need to simply 'Get off the Koch'!

    Thanks for the work toward this end of Tauton and this publication.

  5. GBA Editor
    Scott Gibson | | #5

    What 'green' means
    We know now what McGraw Hill had in mind when it surveyed builders about green building .

    In response to an email asking for a definition, media contact Kathy Malangone said:

    "'Green Building'" refers specifically to home building, home remodeling/renovating and land development that incorporate environmentally sensitive site planning, resource efficiency, energy and water efficiency, improved indoor environmental quality and home owner education or projects that would comply with the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard or other credible rating systems."

    Just like LEED for Homes, the National Green Building Standard has several levels of compliance. And the term "other credible rating systems" is not specific.

    But Malangone said this was the definition provided to survey takers. "No additional specifics are provided in the definition or in the course of the survey," she said.

  6. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #6

    Response to Scott Gibson
    Thanks for tracking down the facts. I was hastily jumping to a baseless conclusion when I assumed that the surveyors did not provide a definition of green; I stand corrected.

    The survey has gained credibility, since at least a definition was provided.

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