The energy efficient home is the pet project of many American homebuilders, including Lennar, Beazer Homes, KB Home and Pulte Homes. Studies reveal that green homes are selling quicker and for higher prices than other homes on the market and that, despite the recession, homeowners are still willing to spend on energy efficient upgrades. Long gone are the days where home theaters, in-law suites, oversized kitchens and energy hog features sell. Today's consumer is looking to downsize and buckle down to save on energy bills, while also doing something positive for the environment.
KB Home is another major US builder that just rolled out their plan for energy efficient home communities. Last year, more than 60% of their new homes qualified for the Energy Star label. "Consumers want homes that will save them money in operations and that are green. The two go hand-in-hand," explained KB Home spokesman Craig LeMessurier. Even though their green homes cost more than standard properties, he feels consumers will recognize the cost savings on their energy statements. Rather than go with the conventional, LEED or Energy Star ratings, KB chose to have the "Build It Green" independent rating system, which they say is even more stringent than the other types of homes that are energy efficient.
Large builders aren't the only ones investing in building homes that are energy efficient. TMS Architects and Bruss Construction are two small New Hampshire companies that are offering customizable house packages that include three different tiers of home energy savings and more than 400 choices that range from landscaping, solar energy, water power, Energy Star appliances, lighting, plumbing fixtures and LEED certification. The homes range from 1,600 square feet to 2,800 square feet and $300,000 to $600,000. This smaller size wastes no space, developers say, and includes high-quality amenities in the kitchens and bathrooms.
"Materials are built to last and if you look at it financially, owners will save $8,400 a year in heating and electricity costs," said Robert Carty of TMS Architects. James Bruss, owner of Bruss Construction, added, "This is the right product for the right time."
Consumers have spoken. The energy efficient home is what they want. They've made it clear they want to invest in technology that will make their power bills go down and reduce their independence on utility companies. Buyers realize that it's economical to buy a home that's already well-stocked with these energy efficient features, rather than retrofit them later and builders see that there are distinct benefits to building this way too. Whether it's a government rebate or a faster sell time, there's money to be made with green homes.
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