The View From Here
by Ric Jackson
September 4th, 2018

The Next Big Thing for the Biggest Builders

I’ve been writing a lot lately about the ongoing growth of green, sustainable practices in new construction. So far, I’ve covered residential certification programs, commercial green certification programs and recently published data that support growth in this sector. Today, I decided to see what we can glean from the practices of two of the largest single-family builders in America—Pulte and KB—asking: How are the market leaders adopting to green practices?

Some quick facts:

  • KB has been publishing sustainability progress reports since 2008 at which point they committed to building 100 percent of their homes to Energy Star® standards. Today, that number is 98%. By the end of 2018, they expect to achieve a national average HERS energy score of 55.
  • Pulte, through its Energy Advantage® program, boasts that their homes are 30 percent more efficient than the average existing home. They also use HERS ratings and Energy Star® certification as key differentiators.

Indeed, energy efficiency in construction has become a commonplace practice, at least for these market leaders. They have set aggressive goals and are getting better year over year by seeking key partners for:

  • Windows
  • Appliances
  • HVAC
  • Thermostats
  • Lighting
  • And more …

But it also seems like they have graduated far beyond energy efficiency already—and have their sights set on the next big thing that will help them continue to differentiate their products, such as:

  • Smart systems and Internet of Things implementations via partnerships (i.e., connected and fully integrated thermostats, appliances, locks, lighting and voice activation)
  • Solar installations
  • Healthy interiors with zero VOC materials and high-performance air filtration
  • Water management systems and water recycling

Why do I tell you all this?

As more builders adopt sustainable building practices, they will become more mainstream and cost-effective. Gone are the days of “builder grade” materials—builders and their consumers expect more. As suppliers, we must consider this as we ready our production for the future.

The View from Here is that high quality at a high volume will be necessary to remain competitive in the new construction market. And we must always be innovating—homes are getting smarter and we have to always imagine what’s next for us as an industry.

What’s your View? Email me directly at Eric.Jackson@Quanex.com.

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