The unveiling last week of McGraw-Hill Construction’s Green Home Builders and Remodelers Study, at the National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders’ Show, in Orlando, Florida, affirmed — and put into sharper focus — previous observations (many of them anecdotal) about green building and its advances in the homebuilding and remodeling markets.
Because “green” can mean any number of things, depending on who is doing the marketing, McGraw-Hill noted that, for the purposes of the study, the term did in fact encompass “many factors,” including efforts to recycle materials and divert them from landfills. But it also emphasized that green is now most closely associated with techniques to increase the energy efficiency of a home. Builders included in the study reported that the additional cost to go green is now 7%, versus 10% in 2008 and 11% in 2006.
Potential for a big leap
In 2011, green homes comprised 17% of the overall residential construction market, the analysis showed. The core finding of the study, though, is that green construction is expected to comprise between 29% and 38% of the market by 2016 — a potential fivefold increase, from $17 billion in 2011 to somewhere within the range of $87 billion to $114 billion in 2016.
For remodelers who specialize in green upgrades — which, again, are mostly directed to improvements boosting energy efficiency — the expected increases in market share are even greater: 34% of remodelers expect to be doing mostly green work by 2016, a 150% increase over 2011 activity levels. Many homebuilders have shifted to remodeling, the McGraw-Hill study (and others) points out, because demand for homebuilding has dropped off so dramatically.
The study also showed that even though green construction and remodeling are growing nationwide, three regions are seeing higher than average growth: the West Coast, whose green-construction growth has been the most robust; the northern region of the Midwest; and New England.
McGraw-Hill promises to further analyze the study findings and release the results in April at the NAHB National Green Building Conference and Expo, scheduled to take place in Nashville.