Sept. 15 — About 31% of new-home owners recently surveyed by J.D. Power and Associates said they perceive that their house is environmentally friendly, but a majority of the owners—65%—noted that their builder did not identify the home's green features.
 
“Builders that neglect to point out environmentally friendly home features to buyers are missing out on a very important opportunity,” said Paula Sonkin, vice president of the real estate and construction industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates, in a statement. “New-home buyers are increasingly seeking out green home features and the benefits they bring in terms of energy and cost savings.”

“The builder might have mentioned the green features of the home [at the beginning of the sales process], but he has not carried the message through so it was heard and, most important, understood,” Dale Haines, senior director of the real estate and construction industries practice, told EcoHome.

Another issue is the misalignment of what the builder and the buyer think is a green home, said Haines. “The builder may say, ‘My home isn’t Energy Star-certified, so it isn’t green,’” but the buyer says, ‘Wow, these appliances are really energy efficient, much more than in my old home,’ and so he thinks the house is green.”

According to the J.D. Power and Associates "2009 U.S. New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study", the top three reasons homeowners build or buy a green home are saving on power and heating costs; reducing water usage; and reducing their impact on the environment. Specifically, consumers surveyed said their houses were green if they had energy-efficient HVAC systems, lighting, and appliances, Haines said.
 
In addition, the study indicates that overall customer satisfaction with new-home builders and new-home quality improved notably from 2008. Satisfaction improved for a second consecutive year, averaging 811 on a 1,000-point scale in 2009, up 32 points from 779 in 2008.

The 2009 study, released today, is based on responses from 26,231 buyers of newly built single-family homes who provided feedback after living in their dwellings for four to 18 months. The study was fielded between March and July 2009.

For more comprehensive builder rankings for all 24 U.S. markets, visit www.jdpower.com/homes.

Jean Dimeo is Chief Editor, Online for EcoHome.