The American housing industry is a mess, with homebuilding back to 1991 levels, in the last banking and lending crisis. In June, according to the New York Times, house prices were down 15.9% compared to a year ago, and sales were down 35.3%. But one sector is shining: green building is up to between 6% and 10% of the market this year, up from 2% in 2002 . According to an NAHB/ McGraw-Hill study, people buying green are after quality first, then energy savings, then "doing the right thing."
Where regular builders are facing bankruptcy and regular architects are waiting on tables, Architect/ builders like Michelle Kaufmann say "We've never been busier. We just completed our 30th home with 100s of projects in the pipeline. The enormous demand we're encountered from homebuyers who want a beautiful, healthful home as well as the lower energy bills that come along with our homes is almost overwhelming."
And while the single family house may not be the future of modern prefab, she is applying the same principles to multi-unit projects as well, like the one shown above.
Has green building reached the tipping point? Harvey Bernstein of McGraw Hill thinks so. "This year, the number of builders who are moderately green-- those with 30% green projects-- has surpassed those with a low share of green-- those who are green in less than 15% of their projects. Next year, we will see even greater growth, with highly green builders—those with 60% green projects-- surpassing those with a low share of green. This year has seen an 8% jump over last year, and we expect another 10% increase next year."
With everyone else going out of business, the green sector may be just about the only one left. ::Michelle Kaufmann
More on Green Building in TreeHugger
AIA Introductions To The Issues of Green Building
Is $339,000 For This Green Solar-Roof Home In Chicago Affordable?
Building the Green Modern Home: Looking at Windows
Green Buildings Make Cents