What was once embraced by the fringes is today a major lifestyle trend impacting everything from land development to retail to food production. When it comes to homebuilding, real estate, and associated industries, the eco-friendly focus is more pervasive than ever. Green Home Builder did a Green Home Design Year in Review, which we expanded into a look at the biggest trends in eco living.

Not just millennials

“This year, we saw an even greater interest from homebuyers to seek out a potential home that offered green sustainable features,” said Green Home Builder. “These potential homebuyers included not just your typical ‘younger generation millennial’ type buyer, but spanned across a multitude of generations. They ranged from millennials, to Gen-X-ers, up to seniors, and even Baby Boomers.”

Expanding on that idea, a nationwide MIT AgeLab survey that looked at the difference between the environmental attitudes and behaviors of Millennials and older generations found two interesting trends:

  • Volunteering— “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, older Gen X and Baby Boomers perform a significant portion of volunteer work, which means at the atomic level of environmental action—cleaning riverbanks, scrubbing bird feathers, rescuing sea turtles—is often in the hands of older adults,” said Forbes.
  • Investments— “The AgeLab findings may help explain the fast-growing level of interest in ESG investments, which have grown by more than 97% in the last 20 years. ESG investments are those that take into account the environmental and social impact of companies in the process of investing.”

More thoughtful investments

In fact, eco-related investments are something to watch for 2019, according to Earth911, who called the trend, “the green investing wave.” Already, “one out of every four dollars invested through a professional firm in America goes toward socially responsible funds,” they said.

Most-wanted features

“The features most desired by this wide range of potential buyers included ENERGY-STAR rated appliances, more energy-efficient windows and more water-conserving features,” according to Green Home Builder. None of this comes as a big surprise, but the next one is interesting because it takes into account not just energy-efficiency for use today, but also at how eco-friendliness is a saleable feature that provides good return of investment down the line.

“Some even asked for insulation that exceeded the current code to take into account future changes or upgrades,” they said. “This more conscious buyer was looking to purchase a home that would not only save them money in terms of efficiency but also make them money on future resale by having a greener, more sustainable, and more energy-efficient home, thus making it more desirable to future buyers.”

Asked and answered

A growing desire for energy-efficient features—“According to an NAHB report, a whopping 70 percent of potential buyers expressed the desire to purchase a home with these features in mind,” said Green Home Builder—is being noticed, and addressed, by homebuilders. They “responded in kind by more than a quarter of their new construction being built that meets Bronze-level certification,” they said.

Some builders are going beyond a basic, or even advanced, array of included green features in their homes. De Young Properties has built several communities of net zero new homes in Fresno and Clovis, CA. Red Fox Crossing, Wisconsin’s first net zero Community, is now selling, while Living Zenith’s net zero homes in Salt Lake City, Utah’s first net zero community, are sold out.

Written by Jaymi Naciri