BENTON HARBOR, Mich., (Jan. 20, 2011) - While green homes are generally perceived as expensive to build or purchase, a recent survey found that consumers and builders believe that reduced prices on building materials will help these homes become more affordable. The survey was conducted on behalf of Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE: WHR) and Habitat for Humanity by the NAHB Research Center*, and reported respondents' opinions on barriers to more affordable green building and how to overcome them.
According to the consumer survey, 59 percent of consumers indicated that lower cost of products and materials is needed for green homes to become more affordable. The builder survey found that builders were largely in agreement with consumers about this point. Most builders (75 percent) indicated that the costs of materials and products for green homes need to be reduced.
"It's encouraging for us to see that consumers and builders are taking a stronger interest in green housing concepts," said Tom Halford, general manager, contract sales and marketing, Whirlpool Corporation. "We need a combined voice of manufacturers, builders and volunteer organizations to continue helping the general public see the benefits of green building. Their collective input is valuable to us as we work to overcome the hurdles that are pointed out in the survey."
Another change consumers in the survey claimed is needed to make green homes affordable is an increase in incentives for sustainable building and remodeling. Of all respondents, 53 percent felt that increasing incentives for homeowners would help with green home affordability, and 36 percent suggested increasing incentives for builders. In addition, the majority of consumers (69 percent) indicated they believe state and federal governments should both provide incentives for purchasing green building products. Among builder respondents, 40 percent believed that incentives for both homeowners and builders would help promote green building.
In addition, the survey showed that 77 percent of consumers feel that green homes are at least somewhat, if not very, important to them. The primary reasons noted for the importance of green homes were: the positive impacts on the environment, the long-term financial savings, and the health benefits for the family.
"Green building can enhance the affordability of homes by decreasing utility costs and is a responsible building practice," said Larry Gluth, senior vice president of U.S. and Canada for Habitat for Humanity International. "For these reasons, green building is playing a larger role in Habitat projects. Working in partnership with homeowners, volunteers and donors at the individual, community and national level, Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the United States are incorporating more sustainable materials and energy-efficient products into Habitat homes."
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that builds and rehabilitates simple, decent and affordable houses, which are sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable loans. Whirlpool Corporation donates a range and ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerator to every Habitat home built nationally, totaling more than 125,000 appliances to-date.
This is the second in a series of findings on the Whirlpool Corporation and Habitat for Humanity survey on green homes that was conducted among consumers and builders. The first was issued on November 16, 2010:
About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 400,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 2 million people. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit Habitat.org.
About Whirlpool Corporation
In 10 years of partnership with Habitat for Humanity, Whirlpool Corporation has donated more than 110,000 ranges and ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerators to new Habitat homes built in North America, serving 55,000 families. The company has sponsored more than 100 homes around the world and served nearly 10,000 families in Europe. Additionally, Whirlpool has donated more than 10,000 products to Habitat ReStore retail outlets and has engaged more than 6,000 employee volunteers. A proud sponsor of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project since 2003, the value of the company's commitment to Habitat nears $72 million. For more information, go to http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com/responsibility/building_communities/habitat_for_humanity.aspx.
Whirlpool Corporation is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of approximately $17 billion in 2009, 67,000 employees, and 67 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Consul, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world. Additional information about the company can be found at http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com/.
The builder portion of the study surveyed 304 respondents and was conducted from July 23 - Aug. 4, 2010, using an online format. Members of the NAHB Research Center Online Builder Panel were invited to take the survey and respondents were required to be an active homebuilder or general contractor. The consumer portion surveyed 1,092 homeowners from Aug. 23-25, 2010, using an online format. Consumers nationwide were invited to take the survey through email invitations.
*The NAHB Research Center is an independent subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).