Adobe Stock

As homes continue to improve in sustainable performance, an uptick in the adoption of green building products and practices has been revealed in a recent study among builders and remodelers.

According to the Building Sustainably: Green & Resilient Single-Family Homes 2024 SmartMarket Brief from Dodge Construction Network and the NAHB, 96% of builders and remodelers are utilizing at least one of seven categories of green practices.

These categories include energy efficiency, water efficiency, healthier indoor environments, resource conservation, resiliency, green site management, and sharing of operating manuals on green features with homeowners.

The series of studies conducted by Dodge and the NAHB asked builders and remodelers about their use of 22 specific products and practices. Compared with the last time the survey was conducted in 2019, water conservation increased 9 percentage points; materials and resources conservation increased 12 percentage points; and energy efficiency increased 17 percentage points.

“It is clear that green building has become a mainstream part of the residential construction landscape with more builders and remodelers engaging in sustainable building practices than ever before,” says NAHB chairman Alicia Huey. “The results also indicate a potential for future growth by driving market demand for green homes, as well as an increased move toward enhancing homes through resiliency practices.”

While there was an increase in specific green practices, many respondents do not perceive an overall increase in the construction of green homes, the study notes. The number of new green home projects reported increased by only 1 percentage point and 5 percentage points for remodeling projects.

“The study strongly indicates that incorporating energy efficiency, as well as water and materials conservation, into their projects is becoming part of the standard practice for builders,” says Donna Laquidara-Carr, industry insights research director at Dodge. “This suggests a likely improvement in the overall performance of housing stock, even if the share of homes flagged as green buildings has not appeared to change significantly.”

Considering resiliency, the study found that there are significant regional differences, even in areas where natural hazards are increasingly occurring. Among natural hazards, wind and floods are the most addressed, with 55% of respondents actively seeking to mitigate impacts of wind and 44% addressing floods. Wind is the only hazard that more than half of builders and remodelers actively aim to mitigate. In the South, 64% address wind and 52% address floods.

The study found that fire mitigation practices are not widely used among builders and remodelers, with only 36% actively seeking to mitigate hazards posed by wildfires. The only practice used by more than 50% of those actively seeking fire mitigation is the use of noncombustible or fire-resistant materials for exterior walls.

Looking ahead to future green practices growth, Laquidara-Carr says, “One area where I think there is a lot of opportunity is electrification.”

Twenty-five percent of respondents are building more than half their homes to be all-electric.

To boost adoption of green homes, the findings highlight a need to stimulate market demand. Currently, 82% of builders and remodelers report that home appraisals infrequently or never reflect a home’s green value, and 72% infrequently or never see green features in MLS listings. Without clear visibility into available features or the tangible benefits of green building home value, consumers are less likely to invest in the additional costs associated with sustainable construction, the report notes.

Additionally, greater awareness and accessibility of government and utility incentives could significantly drive green home construction. Only 16% of builders and remodelers note incentives as a top reason for building green, while 48% say that the presence of such incentives in their area would strongly motivate them to increase their commitment to green building.

Keep the conversation going—sign up to our newsletter for exclusive content and updates. Sign up for free.