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How Green are Homes?

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Jun 9, 2011 2:05:00 PM

A RECENT SURVEY CONDUCTED ON BEHALF OF WHIRLPOOL Corporation and Habitat for Humanity International by the NAHB Research Center showed that 74 percent of consumers believe that less than a quarter of their home can be categorized as “green.” The complete study reported opinions from consumers and builders on various topics related to green home building.

In response to a related question, 34 percent of consumers felt that the most common definition for a green home is that it reduces energy and/or water consumption by a significant percentage. Another 23 percent felt that a home can be considered green when the entire home is green. Responses for this question were similar across all income levels.

Builders who participated in the survey had similar feelings about the definition of green homes – 35 percent preferred the definition of reducing energy and/or water consumption. However, an additional 35 percent defined homes as green if they are built to certification standards.

“These survey results demonstrate that many consumers recognize their homes can be more environmentally sound,” says Tom Halford, general manager, contract sales and marketing, Whirlpool Corporation. “Whirlpool Corporation remains committed to understanding our customers in order to develop information they need to become greener and to make energy-efficient appliances to address the needs suggested in these survey results.”

With regard to green certification programs, consumers overwhelmingly responded that Energy Star qualification is important for residential builds (78%). The National Green Building Standard was also considered important by shares of respondents (44%), as well as state certification programs (40%).

There were 75 percent of builders who felt that Energy Star qualification was important for residential builds, while 57 percent responded that the National Green Building Standard was important. Further demonstrating the importance of certification to this group, 59 percent of builders indicated that they sometimes or always certify homes they build to the specifications of a green certification program.

“In recognition that a home can be both affordable and energy efficient, Habitat for Humanity set a goal for all U.S. Habitat houses to be built to minimum Energy Star standards by 2013,” says Larry Gluth, senior vice president of U.S. and Canada for Habitat for Humanity International. “Habitat’s sustainable building efforts, in partnership with Whirlpool Corporation, homeowners, volunteers and donors are aimed at reducing each house’s monthly and life cycle costs and increase efficiency and durability while providing healthy environments.”

Highlighting the growing importance of the web in green initiatives, 60 percent of consumers answered that they get their green information from the Internet. Consumers also consider TV/radio (54%) and magazines/periodicals (42%) as their primary sources for green news and information.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that builds, rehabilitates and repairs simple, decent and affordable houses. Habitat homebuyers purchase homes at no profit and finance them with affordable loans. Whirlpool Corporation donates a range and Energy Star qualified refrigerator to every Habitat home built nationally, totaling more than 125,000 appliances to date.

This is the fourth in a series of findings on the Whirlpool and Habitat for Humanity survey on green homes that was conducted among consumers and builders.

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