Boise Top Communities Magazine!

Get your FREE copy

Unable to load linked module's control!
The file '/' does not exist.
What are the 4 reasons that consumers purchase a Green Home?
As a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Pilot builder I have the opportunity to communicate openly with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) about the trends seen around the nation in regards to green construction. Yesterday I was part of a Webinar about Green Marketing and I wanted to share some insights from that.

A recent study puts the Green Building Industry at over $20 billion a year and growing rapidly.  According to a recent poll buyers will pay up to a $20,000 premium for green features that will

  1. Improve their health.
  2. Reduce their impact on the environment.
  3. Save them money on their utility bills.
  4. Ensure their home is of the highest quality construction.

While you could write a book about each of these items and how you and your home relate directly to them I have chosen to simply discuss two this time and two next time.


Often cited as the biggest reason people look to go green.  The thing about making your home more healthy is that really it is pretty simple and mostly related to the materials that go into your house.   Low VOC paints limit the amount of volatile carbons that you breathe (octane and butane), Formaldehyde (the same thing used to mummify) free insulation ensures a healthier environment, thicker air filters grab more of the particulates that are in the air. 

Some of the other things that can be done pretty simply but that start to cost more money is installation of wool carpets as they contain very few chemicals, specification of cabinets that are constructed with low Urea-Formaldehyde, or

Equally important is how your home is constructed.  Is it exposed to the elements as it is being constructed or is their standing water in your crawl space?  Both can lead to mold.  Does your builder seal off the construction vents during construction to prevent dust and other debris from entering your heating and cooling system? 

Environmental Concerns

Contrary to the snow storm we received last week here in the Treasure Valley, the globe is warming.  Did you know that your home contributes around 35% of your total carbon emissions?  That is about the same as driving your automobile.  The average LEED Certified building uses 32% less electricity and saves 350 Metric Tons of CO2 annually.  As important as how your home is constructed is what happens with your construction waste.  Recycling of construction debris such as cardboard, wood, and plastic is standard in the LEED program and reduces landfill contribution by up to 85%.  The environmental benefits also include less water usage (50%) and between 30-70% reduction on your heating and cooling bills.

What is the most important to you as the consumer?  Why?  What would you like to see changed or modified? 

Now is the time for feedback as when the market comes back builders will put there heads back down and go to work and won't have the time to modify.


Nic Stover-President
Rubicon Construction


Posted by Nic Stover at 4/15/2008 2:45:00 PM
Share |
Comments (13)
Re:Why are the 4 reasons that consumers purchase a Green Home?
It is interesting that health is the #1 reason, I would think it would be money but every study I have read indicates that health is the primary motivator for going green. I await the day when the industry takes a stand and decides it is the right thing to do. Too many builders don't see themselves in the bigger picture or don't care. Even if it is just to say that Idaho Power can only get so much energy from Lucky Peak. Most see energy as Idaho Power's problem. Trey Langford
Posted by on 4/15/2008 7:46 AM
Re:Why are the 4 reasons that consumers purchase a Green Home?

Fortunately we have Builders like Nic and Joe Collins of Fireside Homes and the 100% Energy Star Builders who have made the commitment to build every one of their homes to Energy Star Standards. One of the problems with our industry is that most Builders are product-driven and not market driven. And Builders are slow to change. One of my favorite quotes is "Change is good. You go first." There are a handful of Builders who have decided to "go first" and action is being taken both on the national and the local level to help more Builders take that first step. In February, NAHB introduced the Model Green Home Building Program. The BCASWI is in the process of forming a Green Building Council to promote the Model Green Home Building Program locally and to provide education and certification for Builders, Trade Contractors, and Suppliers.

Also in February. the Department of Energy in February launched the Building America Builder's Challenge. The challenge program encourages U.S. home builders to adopt the E-Scale on a voluntary basis, and also to utilize best practices for home design and construction. The initiative seeks to accelerate use of successful whole-house design and construction practices that have been developed and verified through DOE research in its Building America program.

Hopefully, these efforts will help Builders change their focus so that, as Nic noted, they will be able to take those first steps before the market picks up and they start running again.

Chuck Miller
President - Chuck Miller Construction
Posted by on 4/15/2008 8:44 AM
Re:Why are the 4 reasons that consumers purchase a Green Home?
I would pay 20K extra. Great article
Posted by on 4/15/2008 10:31 AM
Re:Why are the 4 reasons that consumers purchase a Green Home?
hey Nic, great article, lots of good info- thanks! Kevin Chandler
Posted by on 4/15/2008 12:55 PM
Re:Why are the 4 reasons that consumers purchase a Green Home?
Good Post Nic- I listened to the webinar last night and I felt they had some great information there. I also thought it was cool they featured your project on a national level- some good press for you as well as Idaho. I emailed Tom and encouraged him to do more. Hopefully I can join you on the next one. Keep up the good work!

I am also encouraged by Emdeplam's post. I would love to know how Emdeplam would rank "green attributes" in order of importance. Emdeplam - would you be willing to create a top ten list that I might feature on my website
List the top ten "GREEN ATTRIBUTES" that you would like to see in your home in order of importance. In return I will come back to you with an evaluation of cost for those items. Lets see how far your 20K will go. Bond Campbell
Posted by on 4/15/2008 2:14 PM
Re:What are the 4 reasons that consumers purchase a Green Home?
1. LEED Platnium certified
2. Natural ventalation (not sure how to spec)
3. Energy star windows and doors
4. Solar water heater
5. Low- and zero-VOC materials
6. Solar electric power
7. Non-toxic insulation, (soybean or cotton) with a high R factor
8. automated blinds- controlled during day (while away) to block summer sun
9. Indoor air quality- not sure how to measure
10. Grey water recycling- full yard irrigation and toliet water
Posted by on 4/16/2008 2:16 AM
Re:What are the 4 reasons that consumers purchase a Green Home?
Emdeplam- Thanks for the list, it is exactly what Im looking for. You have inspired me. I will be working on this today. In the mean time maybe we could get some more top ten lists from some of the other bloggers? Bond Campbell
Posted by on 4/16/2008 6:57 AM
Re:What are the 4 reasons that consumers purchase a Green Home?
Green Leaders- Where are your top ten lists? I need three or four more. Bond Campbell
Posted by on 4/16/2008 7:26 PM
Re:What are the 4 reasons that consumers purchase a Green Home?
Bond -
Here is another Top Ten list -
This subject has me curious - I cannot wait to see the how the $$ plays out and just what you can get for 20K. My list is similar to emdeplam's but I took it from more of a buyer's perspective rather than a builder's perspective. What might entice me to spend 20K more and what it will mean to me and my family in the future.

1. LEED Platnium Certified
2. Energy star windows and doors
3. low & zero VOC materials
4. Indoor air quality/natural venhilation
5. Use of sustainable materials/recycled buidling materials as well as finish materials
6. Non toxic insulation/recycled materials
7. Xeriscape - natural landscaping that will be 80% self sustaining over a period of time (2-5 years)
8. Recycling center inside the home
9. Solar heating/water
10. Architectural planning to take advantage of natural light/heat/local weather conditions to maximize energy loss and minimize energy consumption.

Looking over the list I may be inclined to change the order a bit but I will leave it for now and look forward to seeing what you come up with as a "master list".
Posted by on 4/17/2008 11:54 AM
Re:What are the 4 reasons that consumers purchase a Green Home?
These top ten lists are very revealing and helpful but a couple parameters are needed. Emdeplam and Kathy -I would like to know the square footage and style of the home your thinking of when you picture these features. Tell me if its single level or two story. Maybe lower level? Maybe single level with bonus room?

Bond Campbell
Posted by on 4/17/2008 10:10 PM
Re:What are the 4 reasons that consumers purchase a Green Home?
Bond -
We have been living in a single story house since moving to Boise 7 months ago - I would without questions want a single story with a loft or bonus area. Upstairs or down stairs would not matter. Well since my kids are on the verge of tween - maybe downstairs would be better and more energy efficient. 1800 - 2500 square feet. What else do you need to know?
Posted by on 4/18/2008 9:08 AM
Re:What are the 4 reasons that consumers purchase a Green Home?
I design homes and recently worked with Bond Campbell. From a designers' perspective the 4 reasons I would purchase a green home would be:
1. Less waste during construction & better use of materials.
2. More healthy for my family than standard building practices.
3. Energy savings
4. Less harmful to enviroment than standard building practices.

Scott Whitmire Residential Designer
Posted by on 4/18/2008 3:57 PM
residential interior designers in mumbai
Because of incresing demand residential interior designers in mumbai are also turning towards green homes.
Posted by on 5/11/2017 2:50 AM
Add Comment
Provide comments on this blog entry. If you have an account with this site please sign in.
*Title *Email Web Address *Comments