Nowadays, global warming is affecting every human being on Planet Earth. These are greatly caused by greenhouse emissions. Home builders have the capacity to change this devastating scenario but they don’t mention it much in their sales ads.
Home builders can do this by building green homes or those that use lesser energy. These are just a few changes such as: plugging air leaks in the building envelope so that the owner will not be heating or cooling the great outdoors; sealing the ducts that deliver heating and air conditioning with mastic glue instead of tape, which can disintegrate; installing better windows with a low-emissivity coating; and adding more insulation to basements, crawl spaces, walls and attics. Home builders can also do other changes such as increasing roof overhangs to shade windows in summer; building houses to minimize western exposures to the hot summer sun; and planting fast-growing shade trees after houses are built.
Through these energy-efficient measures, home builders and owners can ensure that they are able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as save on energy. These are good measures but what about its costs? Ron Jones, president of GreenBuilder Media and a builder for more than 30 years said that the added costs would probably be closer to 1 percent because a builder can get good work from subcontractors at very competitive prices.
Furthermore, Jones assesses that these costs dampens the builders’ eagerness. But he also sees that most builders are not eager to work on energy efficient homes because of debates on a subject which they feel and think is going to be rejected by the public’s eyes. Being a director of the National Association of Home Builders, having frequent contact with builders all over the country, and with his active participation in establishing NAHB’s green training certification program, he has observed that home builders are stubborn people and that they tend to accept change deliberately.
He also adds that home builders are concerned with selling houses and they tend to approach situations practically. Moreover, he also said that they are not focusing on global warming because the people are unconvinced about it. Doing so will just let home builders lose their potential customers. So, they just wait and see – they wait for the customer to talk on energy efficient measures and climate change but they don’t really mention the topic upfront.
Kevin Morrow, NAHB’s green building senior program manager, said that home energy efficiency can be best sold when the money saved on utility bills are emphasized. But he also said that “the end point is still the same”. Eco training for builders will create energy efficient houses can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Sam Rashkin, program manager for the federal government’s Energy Star for Homes program, takes on a bipartite approach with regards to this matter. He says, “If I bring up climate change, I will offend 50 percent of my audience — I will see a body language change”. To solve the matter, he sees to it that the message is fitted to his audience.
If Rashkin speaks in front of builders, he campaigns that energy savings can battle against foreclosures. With homeowners, he speaks about energy savings as greater means of minimizing utility bills. Within these two groups, Rashkin reiterates that energy efficient homes are beneficial to both home builders and home owners because the homes no longer rely on foreign oil and natural gas sources.
The home builders industry and the people behind them may have said a lot. But they’re missing something or they may not be that totally aware of what the public really thinks. Stanford University’s Political Psychology Research Group has conducted a survey which can disprove their side of the story.
Based on the above-mentioned study, 74 percent of respondents said yes when asked if the Earth has been warming over the last 100 years, and 75 percent said that human behavior was “substantially responsible.” Moreover, 80 percent of the respondents are also amenable on the government’s requirements to build new energy efficient homes and office buildings.
Indeed, there are home builders who tend to be hard-headed and still insist on their contentions. But there are other builders who think otherwise. They have found buyers who are open-minded about this the moment they present the real facts – the links between global warming and energy efficiency and of energy efficiency and reduction of utility bills.
Take Ideal Homes for example. They have become the largest home builder in Oklahoma, ranked 90 in Builder Magazine’s 2009 list of the top 100 builders in the country. You know what, this home builder is not only concerned about making sales, and they’re focusing on energy efficient homes as well.
Just step up to the sales office of a furnished model in Norman Oklahoma that Ideal Homes has built and you can see visuals there. First, an image of 800 $1 bills stacked on a coffee table. This image tells that with the client’s annual savings, he/she gets to own one of their new houses. According to Steve Shoemaker, Ideal’s marketing chief, people could save between $600 and $960 a year, depending on house size, of course.
The second image portrays two polar bears with a caption, “Global warming is a hot topic right now. People have a lot of opinions on the subject. At Ideal Homes, we think the choices we make on where we live have an impact on our environment. Our homes not only save you money on your monthly heating and cooling costs, but produce less emissions than a home built to code. That’s not a bad combination, is it?”
If Ideal Homes have achieved such in Oklahoma, why can’t the other home builders in their own locations? From the looks if it, it’s not the public who’s skeptical. It’s the home builders themselves who are reluctant.
The public are already aware of the world’s devastating global warming scenario. Home builders should open up their minds. It’s time for them to let go of those hesitations and embrace the benefits of energy efficient homes as well.