In A Lousy Housing Market, Green Housing Soars
I was reading today in the Chicago Tribune about an exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry dedicated to green building. It’s a 2,500-square-ft. green home with everything from bathroom tiles made of recycled wine bottles to a solar-paneled roof.
In light of my recent piece on green affordable housing, one point made in the Tribune article really stood out: Even though the housing market is badly suffering, green housing is growing faster than ever. The piece cited a McGraw-Hill study finding that green building is expected to account for 6 percent of the residential construction industry this year. It accounted for just 2 percent in 2005. That’s a rapid increase.
There were several other interesting findings in the McGraw-Hill report. For one thing, over the next five years, the green housing market is expected to rise from $2 billion to $20 billion. And, owners of standard homes are making their living spaces more and more green. Green products are being used for 40 percent of remodeling work.
McGraw-Hill also looked at the reasons behind these market trends. Word-of-mouth is at the top of the list. The study found "green homeowners are happy with their homes and are recommending them at rates significantly higher than recommendation levels of other industries."
Homeowners are also buying green because they want to reduce energy and operating costs and improve the health of their families, the survey found.
Surprisingly, the biggest reason more people aren’t buying green homes is lack of awareness — not cost.
So, while some developers still shy away from green projects because of slightly higher initial costs, home buyers seem to recognize that paying more now means paying a lot less from now on.