One-Fifth of New Homes are ‘Green’

"Green" home illustration“Green” homes are quickly moving into the mainstream of the housing industry as component costs drop and consumer interest continues to grow.

Green housing projects accounted for 20 percent of all new-home construction in 2012 and could reach 25 percent this year, according to the research firm McGraw Hill Construction. By 2016, energy-saving components are expected to be included in 29 to 38 percent of all new homes.

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal noted that extreme energy efficiency is becoming standard practice at major homebuilders such as KB Home.

Green homes take a bite out of utility bills and help owners reduce their carbon footprint on the planet, but there’s a another benefit as well: Adding energy-efficient features pays off when it comes time to sell.

The Journal article noted a study last year by professors at UC Berkeley and UCLA that found California homes with a green label sell for 9 percent more than comparable homes without that label.

Here in the Bay Area, as you might imagine, we take building eco-friendly homes seriously. Oakland-based nonprofit Build it Green works with building and real estate professionals, local and state governments, and homeowners to increase awareness and adoption of green building practices.

In 2012, 4,200 homes were rated through the company’s GreenPoint program, which encourages green home features that conserve energy, water, materials, and create a healthier indoor environment. bringing the total to nearly 15,000 homes rated statewide. By Build it Green’s calculations, green practices in those homes resulted in energy and water savings equivalent to taking 12,945 passenger cars off the road for one year, and conserving 279 Olympic-size swimming pools of water.

For more information on state and federal rebates and incentives to cut the cost of installing solar panels, check out the article we posted on this blog on March 29, “Calif. Homeowners Warming Up to Solar Power.”

(Illustration courtesy of, via Flickr.)

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