This is the question: What do you consider to be the single most important factor in determining if a home is ‘green?’

According to the results of a study performed by Synovate and commissioned by FreeGreen (the semi-free house plan provider that’s designed Tiny Houses, Smart Boxes, View Boxes, and more), American homeowners collectively feel that in terms of a home’s greenness, energy efficiency and environmentally friendly materials rank higher on the list than healthy materials and location.  Here’s how homeowners answered:

  • 45.10% – energy efficiency
  • 19.80% – environmentally friendly materials
  • 18.80% – renewable energy source
  • 10.00% – natural resource efficiency
  • 4.20% – healthy materials
  • 2.20% – location

Although we haven’t seen the full details of the survey, a press release summarized some key points to consider:

  • Saving Green: the money saver option, energy efficiency, beat out the rest by a huge margin.  According to most, going green means saving green.  Literally.
  • Smart Conservation: homeowners with post-graduate degrees were twice as likely to choose natural resource efficiency.  And why wouldn’t they, because isn’t energy (and air for that matter) subsumed within the category of natural resources?
  • Water Efficiency: western states’ homeowners were forty percent more likely to choose natural resource efficiency.  Could they be feeling the pinch from water shortages?  Or smog?
  • Unhealthy Priorities: even families with children ranked healthy materials low on the survey.  Indoor / environmental air quality continues to get short shrift in the scheme of green things.
  • Cheap Boomers: one in two baby boomers chose energy efficiency, opting to save cash rather focus on some of the alternatives.

What do you think?  Which is the single most important factor, if any?  And why is energy efficiency the poster boy for model green homes?

You can catch the full press release: Is Green in the Eye of the Beholder?