Green Building Photo: Dan Foy/Flickr

Over half of residential developers building homes in the US expect to incorporate green design in 60 percent or more of their new homes by 2020, according to Dodge Data & Analytics in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders

This means more than using recycled wood for cabinets and calling it a day. Besides using environmentally-conscious materials when available, green building means high water and energy efficiency, durability and renewability. It includes technologies like solar photovoltaic energy, certified appliances and even ground source heat pumps. 

NAHB Chairman Tom Woods commented on the trend.

“Builders and remodelers have long recognized that green is the future of home building,” he said. “Most builders recognize that they need to be at least conversant in green to stay competitive.”

The NAHB notes that “during the prolonged economic downturn, green homes provided support to the ailing residential market.” Now, green homes will be a feature of the recovering market.

Over half of home builders are currently developing at least 16 percent of their new homes green. And by 2020, about 80 percent of home builders will be at that level.

The NAHB also reports an uptick in “net zero homes.” These residences employ energy conservation and on-site renewable generation to meet all of the building’s electricity, heating and cooling needs. Their survey indicated that nearly one quarter (21 percent) of home builders had built a net zero home in the last two years.

This trend hasn’t quite taken off in New York City, likely because most net zero homes have been low-rise. But NYC is home to a number of net-zero structures. NYC built its first net-zero structure in 2012 in Brooklyn, and this summer, Brooklyn became home to the first NYC building to receive a Net Zero Capable Rating and a Passive House certification — which has stricter ventilation and insulation requirements. 

However, according to the US Green Building Council, which manages Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification, New York City is already among the areas with the greatest per capita investment in green building in the US. 

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