What types of high-performing green products and systems are customers requesting? The 2020 Green Single Family and Multifamily Homes SmartMarket Brief surveyed and analyzed responses from builders and remodelers before the onset of COVID-19, but these results can still serve as a benchmark to help building professionals fine-tune their business models. NAHB anticipates that customers, who have spent months in their homes, have developed a heightened awareness of what efficient, comfortable and healthy means to them, and builders and remodelers need to be ready to meet these needs.
According to the study, consumers are most interested in products and systems that directly impact utility bills and indoor environmental quality. More than half (57%) of builders and remodelers rank products/systems related to energy efficiency as the primary request they receive from home owners, and most (84%) rank it in their top three. About half of respondents rank products/systems impacting indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and conserving water, as well as renewable energy systems, in their top three. Roughly a quarter ranked material and resource conserving products/systems in their top three, with only 1% ranking them first.
How are builders and remodelers translating these consumer asks into their projects? The table shows some of the most widely used practices among all survey respondents compared to those identifying as 'green builders’ (doing more than 50% green projects as defined in the survey). The percentages reflect how many respondents in each group are using a practice on more than 50% of their projects.
|Category||High-Performance Practice||All Respondents||Builders/Remodelers doing ≥ 50% green projects|
|Insulation > code minimums||63%||82%|
|Windows > code-mandated performance||62%||75%|
|Blower door testing||53%||73%|
|Balanced ventilation (ERV/HRV)||28%||45%|
|Obtain HERS score||26%||51%|
|IEQ||Direct outdoor ventilation of fans/exhausts||72%||81%|
|Increased moisture control||37%||50%|
|Water||High-efficiency plumbing fixtures||72%||81%|
|Efficient plumbing techniques||54%||67%|
|Minimize construction waste||61%||78%|
Understanding trends in both the overall market, as well as the green-building landscape, provides a jumping off point for building professionals when discussing what customers want in a new home or remodel. Having that conversation in a way that speaks to consumers' hot buttons of efficiency, comfort and health may help make that next high-performance home sale.
The 2020 SmartMarket Brief — the latest in a series of studies conducted by Dodge Data & Analysis, in partnership with NAHB — also contains results on builders' perspectives on green-building market activity, costs and trends, marketing green homes an drivers and obstacles for green building. The full report is available for free download at nahb.org/smr.
For more details about NAHB's sustainable and green building initiatives, contact David Faulconer. To stay current on high-performance residential building, follow NAHB’s Sustainability and Green Building team on Twitter.