As Kermit the Frog once famously sang, "It's not easy being green" and in these days of financial uncertainty many of us are perhaps thinking less about the well-being of the planet, and more about the health of our bank balances.
The simple truth is, we all want to save cash and if we can also contribute to saving the earth into the bargain then that's just great. The only problem is, going green can come with a hefty price-tag.
A 2009 survey by the National Association of Home Builders showed that while many buyers are happy to consider some extra costs in an effort to be environmentally responsible, the actual amount that the majority are willing to pay for the privilege is far from realistic.
Despite increasing concerns over energy efficiency it would seem that when it comes to making purchasing decisions, it's the good old-fashioned bottom line that has the final say. Consequently, builders are often having to work to tight financial expectations if they want to sell their homes.
A surprisingly small number of the builders surveyed reported having customers enquire about 'green' features at all. The industry itself has to take the lead in developing more environmentally-friendly construction initiatives, in the hope that the home buyers will ultimately appreciate the benefits.
The NAHB is dedicated to finding long term solutions to cost-effective residential green building. It encourages environmental awareness and sustainability through numerous projects, awards and schemes. A series of courses has even been devised to help guide building professionals move toward improving their awareness and ability to achieve affordable, energy aware building projects.
While it may seem odd that many consumers are still failing to see the obvious gains of an energy-saving lifestyle, there has at least been a groundswell in the building trade toward greener construction. Despite the many difficulties faced by the industry overall during 2009, green building has continued to thrive, both in the new homes and remodeling sectors.
Those in the know are well aware that houses that rate highly on energy conservation and sustainability will gain significant value in the long run, but until it becomes the norm it's likely to be perceived by many as an expensive option.
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