A recent survey conducted on behalf of Whirlpool Corp. and Habitat for Humanity International by the National Association of Home Builders Research Center showed that 74% of consumers believe that less than a quarter of their home can be categorized as “green.” The complete study reported opinions from consumers and builders on various topics related to green home building.

In response to a related question, 34% of consumers felt that the most common definition for a green home is that it reduces energy and/or water consumption by a significant percentage. Another 23% felt that a home can be considered green when the entire home is green. Responses for this question were similar across all income levels.

Builders who participated in the survey had similar feelings about the definition of green homes. A third (35%) preferred the definition of reducing energy and/or water consumption. However, an additional 35% defined homes as green if they are built to certification standards.

“These survey results demonstrate that many consumers recognize their homes can be more environmentally sound,” said Tom Halford, general manager, contract sales and marketing for Whirlpool. “Whirlpool Corporation remains committed to understanding our customers in order to develop information they need to become greener and to make energy-efficient appliances to address the needs suggested in these survey results.”

Standards & Certifications

With regard to green certification programs, consumers overwhelmingly responded that Energy Star qualification is important for residential builds (78%). The National Green Building Standard was also considered important by shares of respondents (44%), as well as state certification programs (40%). There were 75% of builders who felt that Energy Star qualification was important for residential builds, while 57% responded that the National Green Building Standard was important. Further demonstrating the importance of certification to this group, 59% of builders indicated that they sometimes or always certify homes they build to the specifications of a green certification program.

“In recognition that a home can be both affordable and energy efficient, Habitat for Humanity set a goal for all U.S. Habitat houses to be built to minimum Energy Star standards by 2013,” said Larry Gluth, senior vice president of U.S. and Canada for Habitat for Humanity International. “Habitat’s sustainable building efforts, in partnership with Whirlpool Corporation, homeowners, volunteers, and donors are aimed at reducing each house’s monthly and life cycle costs and increasing efficiency and durability while providing healthy environments.”

Highlighting the growing importance of the Web in green initiatives, 60% of consumers answered that they get their green information from the Internet. Consumers also consider TV/radio (54%) and magazines/periodicals (42%) as their primary sources for green news and information. —Lauren Hunter, associate editor, REMODELING. http://www.remodelingmag.com