Do homebuyers understand and appreciate the value of green building? Although homeowners are increasingly sophisticated regarding sustainable building practices, new technologies, new systems, combinations and materials are constantly being introduced, says Ron Jones, president of Green Builder Media.
Tim O’Brien of Wisconsin-based Tim O’Brien Homes, affirms Jones’ sentiment about the need for homeowner education. “We saw early on that much of green building technology can be a bit above the level of understanding of the average homeowner, and easily overwhelming,” says O’Brien. “We’ve combated this by pulling buyers into the planning process very early, so that they understand everything that’s involved—that it’s not just about energy efficiency, but also water conservation and indoor air quality, too.
“While we do enjoy a more sophisticated and better-educated client, it’s still incumbent on us—the builder—to be the source of information,” opines Jones, who notes that it is the responsibility of builders to keep abreast of industry and technological developments in order to be a resource for homebuyers.
Don Ferrier of Texas-based Ferrier Custom Homes points out that ‘green buyers’ of all ages are typically much savvier than typical homeowners, but often have different sustainable building motivations. “We’ve seen baby-boomers more interested in the financial payoff through energy savings associated with green building, while younger buyers, typically in their 30s and 40s, believe sustainability is the right thing to do for their families, future generations and the earth.”
“When our clients first come to us, they’re still working to understand how sustainability benefits them,” continues O’Brien. “Overall, we’ve found that these benefits are something you have to experience yourself to truly appreciate. Homeowners who have lived in their homes for 3-5 years are more likely to value the benefits: durability, quality construction, high-energy efficiency and better indoor air quality… The message builders have can then resonate with buyers.”
Stay tuned to our blog for more on information, tips and advice for homebuilders on green building practices.