A recent survey conducted by J Turner Research for the 2014 Multifamily Executive Concept Community polled the lifestyle preferences of more than 27,000 multifamily residents nationwide. Twelve companies participated, distributing surveys to 707 properties across the country. A total of 112,885 surveys were E-mailed to residents with 27,642 responses submitted.

The survey asked participants a series of questions ranging from how often they exercise to the value they place on green features in their apartments. Responses reveal which generations care most about particular green features such as energy efficient appliances and recycling in their apartment buildings. It also asked for respondents age, allowing breakdown of each green feature by generation including Millennials (those born in 1980 or after), Gen X (born 1965 to 1979), Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) and the Silent Generation (born 1925 to 1945).

Overall, survey respondents ranked energy efficient appliances of the highest importance in their apartment on a scale from zero to ten, with an average score of 8.33. Also important to residents with a score above eight is walkability, meaning access to other features of the community, also known to be highly valued in the real estate market.

The survey asked respondents about the importance they place on each individual green feature in their apartments, which was segmented by generation. Although Baby Boomers are not generally considered the generation most concerned with being green, they ranked energy efficient appliances of the highest importance at 8.58 out of ten.

Rated again with somewhat high importance by each generation is walkability, once again with Baby Boomers at the top with an average score of 8.21. Walkability is not only a green feature of communities by enabling residents to avoid cars and other forms of transit, but it has added social benefits as well including interaction among tenants and local green space.

Somewhat surprising is resident scoring of the importance of recycling in their building, which every generation ranked of lower importance than energy efficient appliances or walkability. Millennials, often thought to be the generation most concerned with sustainability ranked it of the lowest important with an average score of 7.62.

Gen X scored the importance of sustainable energy sources such as wind and solar power higher than any other generation with an average score of 7.25. For this green feature, the Silent Generation values sustainable energy sources least with their first average score below 7 at 6.68.

Finally, the survey looked at how different generations value water conservation through asking respondents to score the importance of low-flow toilets in their apartment buildings. As with recycling, Millennials scored it the lowest with an average of 6.72. Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation both scored it of the highest importance by generation at an average 7.19.

Maybe Baby Boomers are a little greener than we thought.