Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Buyers Willing to Pay 2% Premium for Green Living

EVO Penthouse Kitchen Downtown Los Angeles
There's plenty of brouhaha surrounding everything green and eco-friendly in residential building. Developers of new projects tout their energy-efficiency, non-toxicity, and sustainability just as granite counters and mega-closets were promoted earlier this decade.

Hybrid cars and reusable shopping bags have inspired passion in consumers. But what about green homes? The builders are building them, but will the buyers come?

According to the National Association for Homebuilders, buyers like everything green, but when it comes to signing on the dotted line, they're not willing to pay much of a premium.

"Although we are seeing significant interest in green building, cost effectiveness is clearly a key concern among buyers. Builders said that among buyers who are willing to pay more for green features, more than half—57 percent—are unlikely to pay more than an additional two percent." [Multi-Housing News]
That's not much of a margin. Since consumers won't pay big bucks for green living, the burden may fall on governmental forces in order for sustainable projects to become widespread.

One of the leaders in promoting green building has been West Hollywood, with one the strictest green ordinances in the country. The city requires drought-resistant landscaping, energy-efficient appliances, and low VOC paint in any new buildings or renovations.

Green projects are cropping up all across the city. EVO South in Downtown Los Angeles is the city's first LEED Silver-certified building. The feeling of walking into this pristine, 24-story high-rise with all new surfaces -- that doesn't smell like a glue factory -- is a surprising, and pleasant one.