Green truly is the new black in South Florida. As more and more condos and HOAs look to save money as expenses rise, more and more boards and unit owners are exploring ways to incorporate “greening” into their building community.
Green homes are expected to grow between 29 percent to 38 percent of the residential construction market by the year 2016, which is equal to $87 billion to $114 billion of that market, according to a 2012 McGraw Hill Construction study.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, whose Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program is the gold standard, the residential market—from multi- to single-family, from market rate to affordable housing, is reaping the benefits of using green building techniques. Since the launch of LEED for Homes in 2008, more than 30,000 homes have received LEED for Homes certification and nearly 93,000 are registered for certification. Over half of all LEED-certified homes are in the affordable housing category, the USGBC says.
And cities and towns are getting on board, too. There are 44 certified and 58 registered Florida Green Building Coalition Local Government-designated cities and counties in the Sunshine State, according to Suzanne B. Cook, the FGBC executive director.
As of the fall 2012, 201 homes in Florida are LEED-certified. Cook says more and more communities are trending towards green alternatives. She says there is interest in green, “mainly because of the cost reductions that green building offers, whether it is with water conservation or energy conservation. Those are the two big issues that people relate to green building, although green building has a much broader range than just energy and water. It’s about the health issues. Maybe a homeowner could specify low VOC paint or that type of thing.”