12/09/2010 07:14:00 AM EST
Study Ranks Top 10 in Green Homebuilding; Reveals Need for Improvement
Recently, Calvert Investments, a Bethesda, M.D.-based investment group, released a study entitled “A Green Recovery for America’s Homebuilders? A Survey of Sustainable Practices by the Homebuilding Industry,” which examined America’s 10 largest publicly traded homebuilders and their policies/practices related to green building.
The study examined the builders using five major areas, each one presenting significant challenges to the industry--land, building materials, energy, water, and climate change. The study, which ranked Los Angeles-based KB Home, No. 1, and Pulte Homes of Bloomfield Hills, No. 2, showed that out of a possible 42 points, the nation's top 10 builders averaged 6 points or around 15%. However, without KB Home and Pulte Homes, the average dropped significantly--an average of less than 6%.
The top 10 homebuilders, with their 2008 rankings in parenthesis:
- KB Homes, Los Angeles (#1);
- Pulte Homes, Bloomfield Hills, MI (tied for #2);
- Meritage Homes, Scottsdale, AZ (#8);
- Toll Brothers, Horsham, PA (#9);
- Lennar, Miami, FL (#5);
DR Horton, Fort Worth, TX (tied for #2);
- Standard Pacific, Irvine, CA (tied for #11);
- NVR, Reston, VA. (last at #13);
- Ryland Group, Calabasas, CA (#6); and
- MDC Holdings Denver, CO (tied for #11).
Other key points:
- Homebuilders are not maintaining relevant data regarding their impact on the environment.
- Homebuilders, with their earlier preference towards regional policies and programs, are now making company-wide, national sustainability commitments.
- Most green homebuilding initiatives center on energy efficiency and conservation.
- The green building focus is on nearer-term financial benefits to operating costs and customers--building material recycling and energy and water efficiency–as opposed to longer-term benefits, such as climate change.
- Homebuilders appear more cost-concerned when it comes to carbon regulation, as opposed to climate change’s physical impacts.