Green Building Is Becoming Mainstream
At one time the term "Green Building" would have been met with quizzical looks and shrugs of disbelief. Not so anymore, green and sustainable building is becoming mainstream with even the most basic of homes are being built to a more environmental-friendly standard. The consumer is becoming more educated and unwilling to accept a house with higher energy costs when a more efficient one can be built with relative ease.
Building standards are improving, which helps this process. The US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards are now more mainstream. Home and commercial builders are seeking an LEED certification as the public is demanding sustainable building. Triple glazing, insulation, and ground or air source heat pumps are no longer terms that are new to many, particularly those in the building community.
If this is the case, then why haven't green buildings already become mainstream? In part, it is down to the consumer, not demanding the issue but also because it takes time to break the norm. Progress may have been relatively slow, but all the small steps builders have made are starting to add up to significant improvement. More needs to be done, however, as consumers need to be educated and presented with the real cost of their home over its lifespan. For example, what will the energy consumption be and how much will that cost over the next 5 or 10 years? Homes without renewables will always be at the mercy of energy companies, and consumers often don't factor in the long term cost savings associated with technologies like this.
The real improvements will come when predicted running costs become mainstream, and consumers can easily compare the energy and predicted maintenance costs of homes. Then they will be able to appreciate the real difference between houses and make better-informed choices. This change in the industry, particularly those who construct greener homes, are pushing for as it would highlight the value of their product.
As long as there is a market for less green homes, they will continue to be built. This result is not the fault of the builders; they can construct anything, but only when asked. The industry as a whole needs to be more transparent about what goes into a home, and the buyers need better access to information to get themselves a more sustainable, cheaper home.