Sustainability is the Smart Solution

The importance of eco-friendly designs and smart home technology is imperative for attracting today’s buyers

by Abby Pittman

Green sustainable homebuilding is creeping through the crevices of the industry, and builders should be prepared to catch up. The soon-to-be biggest trend, implementing sustainable and smart home technology, isn’t actually a trend at all, but instead a soon-to-be standard. Some builders have already gotten on the bandwagon and are reaping the benefits. The sustainable and green homebuilding movement saw great strides last year, and the momentum continues as more homebuilders begin to realize both the demand for energy- efficient homes and the fiscal benefits they provide.

Municipalities are joining in on the green movement, too, with many passing laws that will require structures and homes to meet distinct energy codes to ensure sustainability and energy efficiency. Since the USGBC started releasing its annual numbers for LEED Certifications in 2010, the number of certified homes has risen to an all-time high in 2017. In seven years the number has doubled, from 32,000 to 65,000, and this is just the beginning of the green home movement.

In this issue we have showcased how four of some of the biggest builders in the nation approach sustainability: Taylor Morrison; CalAtlantic; Minto Communities; and TRI Pointe Group’s Pardee Homes. Let these builders serve as an inspiration to you in order to begin implementing the necessary — and inevitable — changes of green homebuilding.

If you flip to page 46 you will see a featured story on TRI Pointe Group’s Pardee Homes, which, as a builder, has been green from the start. Pardee Homes builds beautiful, luxurious communities with a significant number of sustainable and smart home features.

“At TRI Pointe Group, we are constantly evolving and aiming higher to meet and exceed customer expectations. One of the steps we are taking in that direction includes our continuous effort to stay ahead of the technology curve by delivering smart home solutions that enrich our customers’ lives while contributing to their health and well-being, as well as our planet,” explained Tom Mitchell, President and COO of TRI Pointe Group.

Pardee Homes is one of TRI Pointe Group’s family of homebuilders, and its latest community near San Diego, California is a great example of the company’s commitment to building green homes. By developing their own LivingSmart® program that implements a multitude of green features into their homes with multiple add-on options for their buyers, Pardee continues to make great strides in the green initiative. This is an amazing program, but ideally, in the long run, these features will become industry standards as opposed to additional amenities.

“Ultimately, the rise in green building in the residential sector is driven by market demand,” explained Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO of USGBC. “According to a study on green labels in the California housing market, the construction of new single-family green homes grew from two percent in 2005 to 23 percent in 2013, representing a potential $36 billion market opportunity. In 2018, the green single-family housing market is estimated to represent about 40 percent of the market in the U.S. and 84 percent of all residential construction will have sustainable features.”

We all know that Millennials are about to enter the homebuying market in a big way very soon. As a whole, the Millennial demographic does not see sustainable features as amenities, but instead as standards that should already be implemented. With a greater emphasis placed on social consciousness, it is time for these amenities to become standards in order to entice young buyers. This is a generation that puts an emphasis on societal implications, and many of them will support a company that is delivering for the triple bottom line: people; planet; and profit. A builder that is benefitting all of its surroundings will have a much greater advantage than the traditional, old-school builder that has not retrofitted its business model for today’s buyer.

Not only does implementing green designs and smart home technology benefit the buyers and the planet that we inhabit, but it is also a platform builders can market from. Big builders like Lennar, Minto, TRI Pointe Group, and Taylor Morrison are already moving in this direction. The green building industry will inevitably become the industry standard; the question is, how long will you drag your feet before you realize that sustainability is the only solution?

Abby Pittman is the Assistant Editor for Builder and Developer magazine. She may be reached at

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