Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomeMacroeconomicsGreen Building: Top Practices

Green Building: Top Practices

An earlier post based on the report The Building Sustainably: Green & Resilient Single- Family Homes 2024 SmartMarket Brief focused on the prevalence of green home building. This post will examine commonly used practices in green building. This is the second part of a four-part series that will be published about the report.  

Top Green Building Practices 

Builders were asked how frequently they used each of the seven categories* of green building practices, regardless of whether it was a certified green home or not. The top practice that builders used in new homes was energy efficiency at 91%. This was followed by water efficiency at 52%, and healthier indoor living environments at 49%. For remodelers, the top three were: energy efficiency (86%), healthier indoor living environments (51%), and water efficiency (49%).  

Energy Efficiency  

The most predominantly used category, energy efficiency, was broken down further on specific practices used. Respondents were asked which energy efficiency practices they used on more than 50% of homes. The top practices are listed in the chart below by builder level of green engagement.  

While the top practices were the installation of green efficiency products, other energy efficiency strategies were used. Some examples include blower door testing, an above code energy program, installing all ducts in conditioned space, and targeting air leakages.  

Renewable Energy 

Builders were also asked which renewable energy sources they used on 50% or more of their projects. Renewables were shown to not be frequently used in most projects. Among the eight types of renewable energy solutions, geothermal systems were the top used at 11%. The next was onsite solar energy at 10%. This differs substantially by region, with 31% of respondents from the West deploying solar energy systems, 21% from the Northeast, but only 3% from the Midwest or South. 

Renewables at the utility level were much more promising, with a higher number of users incorporating electrification and EV chargers into homes. Over half of builders (55%) size the electrical panel to accommodate an EV charger, and 40% provide a charging outlet on more than half of their homes. A quarter of respondents build more than half of their homes to be all-electric, and nearly a fifth (19%) design all their homes to eventually only use electricity. Notably, there is no significant difference by level of green engagement for all-electric homes.  

Water Conservation 

Another top category for green building practices was water conservation. The most prevalent practice used on more than half of homes was installing water-conserving plumbing fixtures and faucets at 87%. The second highest was water-conserving appliances at 74%, followed by tankless water heaters, and efficient plumbing techniques at 65% and 64% respectively. Water conservation practices outside the home were considerably less popular, with drip irrigation, drought-tolerant landscaping, rainwater collection and reuse, all below one-third.

Conserving Materials and Resources 

Another way in which builders are able to construct sustainably is by conserving materials and resources.  Respondents were asked which material and resource conservation practices they used on over 50% of their projects. Minimizing construction waste during design and construction was the most popular response at 78%, followed closely by prefabricated components (such as panels and trusses) at 64%. The third highest, diverting construction waste from landfills, was used significantly less at 35%. Please see the shares broken up by builders vs. remodelers in the chart below.  

 *Seven categories: Energy Efficiency, Healthier Indoor Living Environments, Water Efficiency, Resource Efficiency, Resiliency Features, Operation and Maintenance Manuals for Green Features, and Green Site/Green Lot Design and Development

Discover more from Eye On Housing

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -
Google search engine

Most Popular

Recent Comments