Green Builders Weather Recessions Much Better

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A new study indicates that members of the construction sector with experience or expertise in green building fared much better during the recent US recession.

According to the Green Home Builders and Remodelers Study, unveiled by consultancy McGraw Hill Construction at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) annual conference held in Las Vegas earlier this month, those builders with green construction credentials have performed better amidst the recent adversity in the US building sector.

The study indicates the market prospects for sustainable products have significantly improved, with 51 per cent of builders and remodelers saying that selling green homes is easier, as compared to 46 per cent in 2012 and 40 per cent in 2008.

Green homes also hold the promise of bigger profit margins, with 68 per cent of builders reporting that clients are willing to pay a premium for more efficient and sustainable homes, as compared to 61 per cent in 2011. Nearly a quarter of builders surveyed also said that customers are willing to pay a premium in excess of five per cent.

A stunning 84 per cent of remodelers indicated that customers are willing pay a green premium, as compared to 66 per cent in 2011. Well over half of remodelers also said that customers are willing to fork out a premium of more than five per cent.

The McGraw Hill study expects the popularity of green building to continue surging as consumers become more educated and exorbitant energy costs spur them to pursue more efficient and sustainable homes. Local governments and communities are also making strides in the incorporation of green requirements into regulations, ordinances and building codes, which will further drive market growth.

McGraw Hill Construction's current forecasts for total residential construction see the value of the green building market doubling within just a three-year time frame, rising from $36 billion in 2013 to between $83 billion and $105 billion in 2016.

The green building share of the overall residential construction market is also expected to rise, from 23 per cent in 2013 to between 26 per cent and a third of the market by 2016.

As a result of this surge in demand for sustainable construction, more and more builders are expected to go green completely. A full 20 per cent of builders expect to be working exclusively on green projects by 2015, while 24 per cent expect 61 to 90 per cent of their projects being green by the same date.


Marc Howe is one of Sourceable's lead writers on technology and business issues in relation to Australia's built environment.

He has accumulated extensive experience as an editor and reporter both in Australia and abroad, and has covered a broad range of topics during his press career...


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