Some Thoughts on the 2008 Green Building Survey

Every now and again its worth taking a look at how effective policies, programs, and market forces aimed at “greening” the building industry are.  The results of one of the more qualitative ways of taking this peek, the Professional Builder Magazine’s 2008 Green Building Survey, was recently released. The survey, which is given to builders nationwide, looks at how many builders are building “green”, perceived drawbacks, preferred standards and materials, and green education. There are a few interesting notes.

To begin, 57 percent of builders replied that they market some or all of their homes as green, compared to 43 percent who did not at all. While this doesn’t measure how green these homes actually are, why they are marketing them as green (taking advantage of policies and incentives, or simply responding to the market), it is still encouraging in its own right. It shows that a good majority of builders are recognizing the importance of the relationship between the homes they build and the environment, and that they are reacting accordingly.

What is also interesting about this is how it relates to the question of “Is it harder to build green?”.  Of those who market their buildings as green, 47 percent say its harder and 53 say its not. So what is interesting about this is that, despite the perceived challenges (identified as cost, confusing with different green building standards, and taking longer to source and spec products), those 47 percent are continuing to build and market green homes.  Again, this is encouraging, and shows qualitatively that a large segment the building community is responsive to these concepts.

Perhaps what is more informative, however, is the general uncertainty of green building standards. 59 percent of respondents cited confusion with different green building standards such as LEED for Homes, NAHB’s guidelines, and those from manufacturers, utility companies, and regional and local governments, as an area of disruption in their building process. Despite this confusion, nearly all – 87 percent – felt there should be a minimum standard of performance and sustainability before a builder can market a home as green.

While these numbers shouldn’t be overinflated in importance, they do show the importance of developing simplified and easier to follow green guidelines and standards if we want to expect the numbers of builders building green to continue to grow. And given these encouraging trends, we hope and expect them to.

More info on this survey can be found at:

0 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on the 2008 Green Building Survey

  1. Your article clearly shows that the green issue is in the minds of at least half of builders, but it would be interesting to know the extent that the 47% who are building and marketing homes as ‘green’, actually go to in the buildings

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