While it seems obvious that a new home with lower energy costs should be more attractive than a traditionally-built one, builders have long since noticed that, really, buyers don’t care. So now they’re offering energy savings for “free”, and that seems to be working. Even then, however, it’s features that save money that have some appeal – those that are supposed to save the world don’t do anything to stir the eco-consciousness of anyone without a Barbara Streisand-sized budget to indulge their sensibilities.
To be sure, most buyers will always pick their new homes based on location and price and they still don’t seem willing to cough up much extra money for the green homes. Meanwhile, some builders aren’t overly focused on the eco-friendly movement, saying they’d rather stick with the traditional homes buyers have always wanted. …
Still, buyers are unlikely to pony up for unfamiliar products that don’t impact their bottom line. Robert Younkin says it was a “no brainer” to spend $4,600 to upgrade the solar-panel system on the KB Home he purchased in Valencia, Calif., late last year for $567,000. But when it came to smog-eating tiles, a rooftop feature that works with sunlight to eliminate the smog, he passed, in favor of pouring money into a backyard entertaining area and upgrading his kitchen.
“I don’t understand what those [smog-eating tiles] do. I had no idea what my 2,000 square feet of tile would have done for the carbon footprint or whatever,” said the 33-year-old father of two. “I care more about making the economics make sense.”