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Green Homes Seen As Affordable to Live In, Expensive to Build
Nov 17, 2010
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Recent survey results show consumers at every income level believe living in a green home would be affordable, but only high-income consumers were likely to indicate that a completely green home would be an affordable purchase.

The recent Whirlpool Corp./Habitat for Humanity survey conducted, by the NAHB Research Center, polled home builders and consumers. Most respondents - 64% - indicated that savings from green home features were sometimes worth the added costs and efforts.

The August 2010 survey found that the majority of high (67%), upper middle (65%), and middle (59%) income respondents, as well as nearly half of low income respondents (48%), indicated they believe a completely green home would be affordable to live in or maintain. Only high-income respondents were more likely to indicate that a completely green home would be affordable to purchase (71%).

"The health benefits, low utility costs and other factors make green homes ideal for all homeowners. However, it takes a united front of manufacturers, builders, and organizations to help builders and consumers understand that building green can be affordable," said Tom Halford, general manager, contract sales and marketing, Whirlpool Corp. "There's a need to bridge the perception gap between green-building and affordability, so that builders and families understand that options exist to improve their footprint in the long-term, while saving money and resources in the short-term."

The builder survey, fielded July-August 2010 to members of the Research Center's Online Builder Panel, found that 87% believe green homes are affordable for middle income families to live in, while 30% felt green homes were too expensive for the segment to purchase or build. For low-income families, 70% of home builders believe green homes are affordable to live in, and nearly 60% of builders thought green homes were too expensive for low-income families to purchase or build.

"Under Habitat's nonprofit construction model, Habitat affiliates across the United States are incorporating sustainable materials and energy-efficient products in Habitat homes, as this is both a responsible building practice and it improves the affordability of homes for Habitat partner homeowners," said Larry Gluth, senior vice president of U.S. and Canada for Habitat for Humanity International. "The challenge is to help people understand that building green doesn't mean it can't be affordable too."

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