The Present and Future of Green Multifamily Building

The Present and Future of Green Multifamily Building

It might not be easy being green for some multifamily builders, but for others it’s going to be a way of life—or it already is.

According to McGraw Hill Construction’s SmartMarket Report on green multifamily building, more than half of the firms polled say more than 15 percent of their projects are green.

  • 79 percent of builders will jump into the green game by 2018.
  • 6 percent of multifamily builders reported being dedicated to green in nearly all of their projects in 2013.
  • 18 percent expect to be at that level by 2018.

Talk about major green growth!

Show Me the Green

How much customers are willing to pay for green. Photo courtesy of McGraw Hill Construction
How much customers are willing to pay for green. Photo courtesy of McGraw Hill Construction

The cost of going green is the top obstacle for builders thinking about diving in, however minimal it might be.

Multifamily firms see an average building cost increase of 9 percent for going green. That being said, consumers are willing to fork over the cash for it.

A whopping 68 percent of multifamily builders say consumers will pay up to 10 percent more for a green condo or apartment than a traditional one.

The majority of these buyers are Millennials.

Green features make for an easier sell. Fifty-nine percent of builders find that green homes are simpler to market than traditional units. And the more green building you do, the more knowledgeable you get and the easier the units are to market.

Drivers of Green

They key driver for buyers is their carbon footprint.

According to the survey, 35 percent of multifamily builders find that their customers request green homes because they are better for the environment. Saving some scratch helps, too.

RELATED: Show Me the Money! Our Favorite Green Tech Stories

When touting green features, talk about long term utility cost savings. Seventy-nine percent of multifamily builders say this was the most effective terminology used when discussing green features with clients.

Most important green products, according to builders. Photo courtesy of McGraw Hill Construction
Most important green products, according to builders. Photo courtesy of McGraw Hill Construction

Achieving Green

Ninety-five percent of multifamily builders select energy efficiency as one of the top three green practices. Water efficiency was also up there with 68 percent of builders in its corner. These tech aspects are placed well above sustainable building materials and practices.

  • 97 percent of builders say highly efficient HVAC and/or water heaters are the most important products to achieve greener multifamily homes.
  • 91 percent of builders rank energy efficient appliances as number one.
  • 78 percent of builders select increased moisture control and ventilation as the most widely used Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) strategy.
  • 69 percent of builders choose MERV 8+ filtration and/or air cleaning systems.

Appliances and fixtures should not be ignored, since buyers are more conscientious of products they can see. Consumers purchasing or leasing a green unit expect Energy Star appliances but may not notice if fixtures and appliances are WaterSense labeled. Over 90 percent of builders using water-conserving appliances consider them the most important water conservation product. Fixtures were chosen by 84 percent.

When you think of apartment buildings, you might not associate them with renewable energy. However, almost two thirds of multifamily builders and developers offered renewables on projects in 2013.

About The Author

Kelly Mello is a TecHome Builder Staff Writer, creating timely, investigative articles for its eMagazine and Special Reports. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in English: Communications & Rhetoric. She began her writing career in 2007 as editorial assistant for GateHouse Media. From 2010 to 2013, she was local editor for various Patch sites, including

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