Although we all know there is a lot to be done before sustainable building becomes more widely accepted by homeowners—as well as the country as a whole—there are some key developments happening right now that have the potential to have a real impact on the industry. Cliff Majersik, executive director at Institute of Market Transformation (IMT), points to two current issues that could be true catalysts for change. And he’s got the research to prove it.

The SAVE Act
According to Majersik, the most promising development is a bipartisan bill called The Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (SAVE) Act. This proposed legislation calls for inclusion of energy costs in underwriting for federally financed single-family mortgages. The goal is to help homeowners finance cost-effective energy improvements through their mortgages, allowing both builders and homeowners to recover the cost of efficiency investments.

In fact, a recent joint analysis from the American Council for an Energy Efficient-Economy (ACEEE) and IMT showed that the SAVE Act could greatly accelerate the supply of—and demand for—energy-efficient new homes. The groups estimate that passage of the legislation could increase market penetration of new energy-efficient homes by 2% in 2013 (about 15,000 homes annually), rising to a steady state level of 25% by 2020 (approximately 250,000 homes annually).

The research also showed that the bill could create 83,000 new jobs and annual energy bill savings of $1.1 billion by 2020. Click here to view The SAVE Act