Most Americans are willing to pay extra for a home with eco-friendly features, according to a new national survey by the Shelton Group.

Released last week, the 2009 Eco Pulse report found nearly two-thirds of consumers would be willing to pay a 10% or higher premium for a home with a number of green features. Nine percent were willing to pay 30% more.

“While consumers might not always be clear on what features should be included in a green home, what is clear is that consumers are increasingly aware--but not 100% convinced--that green can be associated with saving money,” said Suzanne Shelton, founder of the Knoxville, Tenn.-based Shelton Group. “In today’s economic climate, home builders can really benefit from marketing the money-saving aspects of their homes, as commercial builders have done for years.”

While 53% of respondents were able to name at least one green home feature unaided, the item they named most often is also the most expensive: solar capability. “This contributes to the consumer perception that green homes cost more and are a luxury,” says Shelton.

Consumers have high standards when it comes to eco-friendly housing. When asked to pick three features from a list of 17 possible features required for a green home, 33% said all of them would be required, an all-or-nothing mentality that also contributes to the perception that high-performance homes are luxury homes. “We need to do more to explain how green features can actually save homeowners money,” Shelton notes.

The green features chosen most often were:
--Renewable electric power generation systems such as solar, geothermal, or wind (25%).
--Higher-efficiency appliances like those certified by Energy Star (25 %).
--Water-conserving features including low-flow showerheads and rainwater collection systems (21 %).

Learn more about the survey at

Jennifer Goodman is Senior Editor Online for EcoHome magazine.