Cost-Effective Green a Trend to Watch, NAHB Says

by bkrigbaum@solagroup.com


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LAS VEGAS, Jan. 21, 2010
The key to the mainstreaming of green is to make sure that consumers
understand the value of green upgrades 
— and exactly how cost-effective that sustainable construction can be in
the long run, according to four green home building professionals who spoke at a
press conference on Wednesday at the National Association of Home Builders’
International Builders’ Show.

 

Builders, remodelers and product
manufacturers are beginning to green their processes and incorporate more
energy-,  water- and
resource-efficient features. They are learning how to reduce waste on the job
site to save enough money to pay for these upgrades – and help ensure that the
builder makes a profit, said consultant Steve Bertasso, who helps builders
achieve these measures.

 

Green building has truly reached
the tipping point because it’s moving out of the custom home market into the
realm of high-production homes, he added. “This year is going to be a big change
in the production [building] environment,” Bertasso predicted. “Consumers are
asking questions they didn’t ask two and a half years ago and contractors are
making better decisions.”

 

The key to reducing the nation’s
energy use is to green existing homes, said Philip Beere, who is remodeling
distressed properties near Phoenix‘s new rapid transit line. Adding
insulation, improving the ventilation and air conditioning systems and replacing
turf grass with landscaping more appropriate to the Southwest’s desert climate
doesn’t cost much more than a traditional remodel, but “retrofitting these homes
to be green is a good solution,” he said.

 

Connecticut home builder Jim Pepitone called
himself a “late adopter,” but one who has finally seen the green light — and
believes the rest of the industry can’t be far behind. Builders need to educate
consumers on air sealing, the importance of right-sized heating systems and good
insulation, and the advantages of rooms that can serve more than one purpose so
the home can be smaller and less expensive. “We need to make sustainable
attainable,” he said.

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