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Despite headwinds created by the cost of building green, a high percentage of homebuilders and remodelers already build green properties and expect to do so in the future. And it’s not just for millennials. Homebuilders and remodelers say that consumers of all ages are interested in green, but a study they conducted finds consumers age 55 and older are the most important group driving the current green market.

The study, Green and Healthier Homes: Engaging Consumers of All Ages in Sustainable Living SmartMarket Report, was conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Ply Gem Industries, a manufacturer of exterior building products in North America. It can be downloaded online.

Consumers’ association of green with healthier homes leads to even higher potential for growth in the future, as do increased use of renewable technologies by 2018.

The 2015 study surveyed 232 builders and remodelers from across the U.S.

  • 54 percent of homebuilders are currently constructing at least 16 percent of their new homes green, and 39 percent of remodelers report that at least 16 percent of their remodeling projects are green.
  • By 2020, nearly all (81 percent) home builders will be constructing that level of green, with 51 percent building at least 60 percent of their new homes green.
  • By 2020, remodelers report a similar level of growth, with 74 percent making at least 16 percent of their projects green, and over one third (36 percent) completing over 60 percent of their projects green.

“Builders and remodelers have long recognized that green is the future of home building,” says NAHB Chairman Tom Woods. “Since we first began partnering on this study with Dodge Data & Analytics in 2006, we’ve seen that commitment grow. The study’s recent findings reinforce this continued growth, with new homeowner feedback showing a desire and expectation that new homes be high performing, particularly when it comes to energy conservation. Most builders recognize that they need to be at least conversant in green to stay competitive.”

One key factor driving the growth of green is the association of green homes with healthier living. Builders and remodelers certainly recognize the potential: most (83 percent) believe that consumers will pay more for homes that are healthier.

“We have seen the commercial sector of the construction industry focus on the impact of buildings on the health of their occupants in the last few years, but these findings suggest that attention to healthier homes may offer an even higher gain for green in the residential market,” said Steve Jones, Senior Director of Industry Insights at Dodge Data & Analytics.

Another factor leading to growth in the residential market is the increasing use of renewable energy. Renewable technologies is expected to grow across the board: By 2018, nearly half of home builders and remodelers expect to be using solar photovoltaic (48 percent) and ground source heat pump (52 percent) technologies.

Net zero homes are also emerging as an important trend, with nearly one quarter (21 percent) of home builders having built a net zero home in the last two years.

One interesting finding of the new study: The greatest impetus for green homes comes not from millennials as many people might expect, but from consumers age 55 and older.

Data from the study suggests that older adults’ greater familiarity with home features leads to an emphasis on home performance. Therefore, as the environmentally minded millennials gain more experience with homeownership, it is quite possible that there could be even greater demand for green in the future.