KB Home ranks first among the largest public builders in terms of sustainability in the areas of energy, water, timber, and land use, according to a joint report released today by Calvert Group, an investment management firm, and the Boston College Institute for Responsible Investment.

But the report, which looked at builders' policies, programs, and performance in the areas above, also found that none of the firms qualified as fully green. "Of the 13 major home builders, only six had explicit commitments to environmental sustainability, energy efficiency, water conservation, or responsible land management, and no company published a comprehensive sustainability report," it stated.

On a regional basis, however, builders looked a little better. The report specifically cited Centex for its marketing of Energy Star-rated homes in California and Nevada, Pulte for its energy efficiency efforts in the West, and Lennar for its use of solar technology in California.

Those are important issues to Calvert, which specializes in socially responsible investing. "As an investor, Calvert seeks to discern how major U.S. home builders compare on policies, programs, and performance relating to the environment and resource efficiency," explained Stu Dalheim, director of shareholder advocacy at Calvert.

Overall, the report ranked builders in the following order:
1. KB Home
2. D.R. Horton and Pulte
4. Centex
5. Lennar
6. Ryland
7. Beazer
8. Meritage
9. Toll Bros.
10. K. Hovnanian
11. MDC Holdings and Standard Pacific
12. NVR

For more information, visit www.calvert.com/Pdf/7776.pdf.

Alison Rice is senior editor, online, at BUILDER magazine.