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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Green home sector booms despite housing slump - Green House - USATODAY.com

Homes for Our Troops
Well it looks like green building is here to stay. What are you doing to make your projects more energy efficient? Are you engaging your consultants, using BIM and IES to change the world? I hope so.

Source: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2009/12/green-home-sector-booms-despite-housing-slump/1

The home building industry is struggling, but one sector is booming: green homes, as my story in today's USA TODAY explains.

The number of homes earning the government's Energy Star label has skyrocketed since 1995, when the program began rating entire homes in addition to consumer products.

By Sept. 30 this year, the one million mark had been exceeded, hitting 1,024,200. Each of these homes is at least 20% more efficient than regular new homes because of their windows, lighting, appliances, insulation, heating and cooling.

Private programs that certify homes as environmentally friendly also report growth, despite a 30% plunge in new homes started or completed in the year ending in October, the last month for which Census data are available.

Why the boom?

"More people are doing it to save money on their heating bills," says Kevin Morrow of the National Association of Home Builders, which certified 99 homes as green last year but 564 so far this year.

Builders are trying to find ways to make green homes more cost effective. In St. Charles, Maryland, developer Steve Griessel says he's been able to lower the cost of an eco-friendly new townhouse from $350,000 to $235,000.

"People think green is more expensive," Griessel, chief executive of American Community Properties Trust, told me. "We're setting out to prove that is not the case."

Griessel, as I reported in an earlier post, is building 11,000 new eco-friendly homes and apartments in St. Charles and retrofitting existing homes in an effort to create an entire green city.

So far, though, many ultra-efficient new homes come with higher price tags.

Curtis Jones, who bought a green-certified Pulte Home in Las Vegas in May, says other homes of similar size cost less but he expects to save money long-term on lower utility bills.

"It's a win-win," says Jones, 55, a literacy educator, adding that he also gets the satisfaction of knowing that his home is good for the environment.

Green home sector booms despite housing slump - Green House - USATODAY.com


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