American home builders run the gamut when it comes to green construction. Some have been offering high-performance homes to their buyers for years, others are just gearing up their green building programs or offering energy-efficient upgrades, and many are still waiting for a reason to jump on the bandwagon. Last year, about half of the top 200 U.S. production builders constructed about their homes to a certified third-party green rating system, according to the 2013 Builder 100/Next 100 survey. In fact, 77 of those 200 builders constructed 100 percent of their homes to meet the requirements of a third-party program. Conversely, about half report that they did not build any green-certified homes. 

The green building industry in the U.S. is destined to grow in the near future, as consumers increasingly demand efficient homes that provide little or no energy bills, healthy living, low maintenance, and resilience to withstand extreme weather patterns.  In addition, federal, state, and local codes will become more stringent. The housing downturn may have kick-started the U.S. green building market, but according to McGraw-Hill Construction's 2013 Dodge Construction Green Outlook report, the recovery will keep it growing. The report predicts that by 2016, green homes will comprise 29 percent to 38 percent of the market, an estimated $89 billion to $116 billion industry. The survey also found that one-third of all home builders in the U.S. expect to be fully dedicated to building green by 2016.

The decision to offer homes that are high-performance, energy-efficient, non-toxic, sustainable--whatever the preferred term--involves many considerations and builders must weigh expenses and impediments against potential benefits. Of course, green building techniques and products reduce a home’s environmental impact as well as owners’ operational costs, but what do they do for a builder’s bottom line? In this special package, Builder presents a cost versus benefit analysis exploring the economics of green home building.