Why Build Green?

From the U.S. Department of Energy's Building America Program October 2012 Report A Business Case for Home Performance Contracting; Read the rest of the report here.

Green building and remodeling are among the brightest spots in the residential construction market. At the forefront of this trend is the business of upgrading existing homes from a whole-building perspective to increase energy efficiency, comfort, health, and durability. The industry term for this approach is “home performance.”


An increasing number of homeowners in the United States are realizing the value of improving their homes’ energy performance (Table 1). Over 50,000 homes were upgraded in 2011 through Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, a federally supported residential energy-efficiency program. Not only do residential energy-efficiency upgrades increase comfort, lower utility bills, and enhance a home’s value, upgrading the existing housing stock is a priority for federal, state, and local authorities.


According to the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), the U.S. housing stock includes approximately 114 million occupied houses that serve as primary residences (EIA 2011a). Only 28% of the existing homes were built after the 1992 Energy Policy Act, which mandated more stringent building energy efficiency codes. Age profile data from the 2005-2009 American Community Survey shown in Figure 3 tell a similar story with more than 70% of the residential housing stock in the United States (nearly 95 million homes) estimated to have been built before 1990.