Home Buyers Want ‘Green’ and Builders Respond

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A majority of homebuilders are now building more energy-efficient homes in response to the demands of homebuyers, according to a recent survey of home builders conducted by retailing giant Lowe’s.

Nine out of ten of the builders surveyed say they are putting more energy-saving materials and products into their new homes at all price levels because energy-saving features help to sell their homes, the study found.

Water heaters and furnaces are among the items most commonly upgraded for their energy efficiency, surpassed only by windows and insulation. In addition to energy upgrades, builders are increasing the value of their homes and making them more attractive to buyers by adding amenities such as upgraded wiring to accommodate home computers, automated security systems and programmable lighting.

Among the most popular additions this year are home offices, outdoor living spaces and features that allow older homeowners to “age in place.” Two-thirds of the builders say they are also likely to include lower maintenance features in the homes they build.

The results of the study suggest that the trend toward more energy-efficient homes and commercial buildings that has been growing for years—and that gained momentum as the result of sharp increases in gasoline, home heating oil and natural gas—is broadening and likely to become a permanent feature of both residential and commercial construction.

Taco and many other manufacturers have been developing a wider range of energy-efficient products for several years. As a result, products, components and systems such as Taco’s D’MAND® System for instant hot water, radiant system components and the LoadMatch® Hydronic system, for example, now make it much easier and more efficient for homebuilders and contractors to satisfy new consumer preferences and, in a growing number of jurisdictions, green building regulations that mandate greater energy-efficiency.