California-based SolarCity started out with solar and gradually expanded to energy efficiency services. Now, with more than 5,000 efficiency projects completed or underway, the company wants to help the typical U.S. family save some of about $1,900 that’s spent every year on home utility bills. The company just announced a plan to make energy-efficiency improvements more accessible with a new Home Energy Loan.
Green homes comprised 17%, or $17 billion, of the overall residential construction market in 2011, according to new findings in the Green Home Builders and Remodelers Study by McGraw-Hill Construction. Mc-Graw Hill predicts green homes will gain market share over the next few years to between 29-38% of the market by 2016 — a market that could equate to $87-114 billion by these forecasts.
For the Solar Decathlon enthusiasts and early planners, here’s a heads up that Solar Decathlon 2013 will be held at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California, according to the Department of Energy. In August 2011, we mentioned that the DOE was shopping around for a new location. Turns out the new location is the site of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, which Irvine will convert into sustainable parkland for family recreation. Teams will install their homes on the paved runway.
It turns out that “building reuse almost always offers environmental savings over demolition and new construction,” according to a new study published by the Preservation Green Lab of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Green Lab published its findings after a life cycle analysis of environmental impacts of various buildings located in four cities around the country.
The Earth Advantage Institute has certified more than 12,000 green homes, so it’s safe to say they know what’s going on with green building. Towards the end of 2011, the non-profit spoke with various policymakers, builders, developers, architects, brokers, appraisers, lenders, and homeowners to understand green building trends. Here are the 10 green building trends EAI says to watch for in 2012, which we’ve paraphrased below: