Efficiency, design drive homeowners' green decisions

Consumers care most about energy efficiency, water savings and health issues when it comes to green homes – and design, by the way. A panel of green home experts at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo told the audience that buyers not only want high-performance sustainable products, they also want those products to look good.

Energy efficiency is a prime motivator, according to Deborah Meyer, senior vice president of the Pulte Group, a nationwide homebuilder. Pulte conducted a survey of 5,000 new home buyers and found that 48 percent would spend $2,000 to $6,000 to lower their monthly utility bills by $30.

Most home buyers focus on how much money they can save and prefer to focus on easy-to-understand information such as an energy rating, Meyer noted.

Only about 15 percent of consumers are green advocates, according to Don Devine, CEO of American Standard Brands. The remaining 85 percent are not willing to compromise on style and function to purchase green products.

"Green is not enough to create demand on its own," Devine said. "The economics, performance and style all need to be there."

Devine noted that most consumers still doubt whether green products will eventually pay for themselves in cost savings. With sanitary products, for example, consumers also doubt whether water-saving toilets can fully carry waste.

He said educated consumers can help influence installers such as builders and contractors on the benefits and costs of green products.

Topics: Cost of Ownership, Going Green, Trends / Statistics

Companies: American Standard

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