This week at the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) Excellence in Building conference in St. Louis, Missouri, the U.S. Department of Energy presented 28 builders with “Housing Innovation Awards”, including six builders in the affordable housing category. The builders that accepted the awards didn’t repeat the common builder mantra: “it’s too expensive to build to the next model energy code” and “buyers won’t pay more for home that’s more energy efficient”. Instead, these builders spoke of the innovative ways they cost effectively added energy efficiency into their new (or remodeled) homes. According to another EEBA presenter during a subsequent conference session, such builders are delivering exactly what home buyers want.
One conference session unveiled new results from a statewide consumer survey in Idaho, which show that Idaho consumers value energy efficiency in new homes and are willing to pay more for it. Sharon Grant, who represented the Idaho Energy Code Collaborative – a group of builders, real estate professionals, city and state government, and others that advise the state on energy code matters – presented the results of the survey. The Collaborative set out to determine to what extent home buyers valued energy efficiency in homes, and how much more they were willing to pay for it. So they hired a research firm, conducted a telephone survey of 600 individuals (geographically representative of populations across the state), asked 35 questions to determine consumer’s attitudes and opinions on energy codes for Idaho.
The survey found that the vast majority of consumers want energy codes: about 70 percent are willing to pay an additional $2,500-$5,000 more for an energy efficient home– even if the payback period on their investment takes seven years. In addition, two out of three Idahoans agree that the state should adopt a state energy code consistent with national standards. The majority believe that energy efficient homes increase the resale value of a home.
The survey questions were derived from a BCAP/Consumers Union survey conducted nationally just a few years ago, and the results in Idaho turned out to be in line with the national survey results. The findings are also consistent with the 2012 study conducted in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) that found that energy efficiency is one of the most desired features in a new home, with 91% of study participants rating it as “essential/must have” or “desirable”.
The results of the new Idaho study are further confirmation that home buyers want – and are willing to pay more for – energy efficient homes.