Although Earth Day only comes once a year, consumers are thinking green year-round. For home buyers, it’s a matter of how the conversation is framed to ensure they understand the value of investing in green building practices.

For example, in the latest version of What Home Buyers Really Want, NAHB asked prospective and recent home buyers if they would pay more for a house to reduce its impact on the environment — only 14% said “yes.”


However, when asked about what they would be willing to pay upfront to save approximately $1,000 a year in utility bills, buyers noted they are willing to pay an average of $8,728 more for future utility savings.


The drastic difference in responses to these two similar questions emphasizes the importance of using language that resonates with consumers. If you are building homes with green certifications, sustainable building practices and green features, many customers would benefit from an explanation about the potential positive effects these factors can have on the people who live in them. When builders can connect with home buyers on a deeper level to meet their individualized needs, their homes can stand out in the local market place and sell faster than their competition.

In the same survey, home buyers also noted interest in environmentally-friendly options over more conventional ones in five out of six trade-off scenarios. For example:

  • Respondents preferred low-maintenance landscaping with native plants (65%) over a traditional lawn with trees and shrubs (35%).
  • They also wanted a home utilizing passive solar design for natural heating and cooling (63%) versus a house oriented to optimize curb appeal (37%).

Certain markets already have demand for high-performance homes, particularly as more buyers think about building resiliency, energy use, water conservation and improved indoor air quality. For those buyers who may not necessarily seek out these sustainable features, it’s important to communicate the potential opportunities available in high-performance homes with regards to healthier indoor environments and future savings.

Earth Day is a good reminder for how homes can impact the lives of future home buyers. For more detailed information on the green features home buyers are looking for, see Chapter 8 of What Home Buyers Really Want.

For more information about NAHB’s sustainable and green building programs, contact Program Manager Anna Stern. And to stay current on the high-performance residential building sector, follow NAHB’s Sustainability and Green Building team on Twitter.