Monday, December 07, 2009

Green Homes Are Red Hot

A little dose of Green Economy promise for your stormy Monday:

The home building industry is struggling, but one sector is booming: green homes.

The number of homes winning the government's Energy Star designation since the program began in 1995 has crossed the 1 million mark. Despite an overall housing slump, 75,000 have been added so far this year for a total of 1,024,200.

Last year, Energy Star homes accounted for nearly 17% of all single-family homes built, up from 12% in 2007.

The Energy Star label means a house is at least 20% more energy-efficient than other new homes.

"They are better homes," with more efficient windows, lighting, appliances, insulation, heating and cooling, says Maria Vargas of the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program.

What's motivating people to favor green homes?

"The interest in green building is driven by consumers. More people are doing it to save money on their heating bills," says Kevin Morrow of the National Association of Home Builders, whose green certifications jumped from 99 homes last year to at least 564 this year.

Existing homes are going green, too: 68% of people surveyed by USA TODAY took steps this year to make their homes more energy-efficient. Of those who did, 71% said it was "mostly to save money" and 26% "mostly to save the environment."

That's my boldfacing on the quote about green homes being "better" homes.  That's the kind of recognition that we need the public to become more aware of -- that "green" = "better".  Joel Makower of blogged a great post on the subject this past summer.

Well, if Congress won't lead on our climate and energy crises, at least more and more people are...


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