Residential Research Quarterly: December 2019

In our final residential research roundup of the year, USGBC highlights how to showcase high-performing homes in the real estate market, a meta-analysis on how green space can support health, an annual report on the state of U.S. housing, a white paper on low-rise buildings and their potential to drastically reduce carbon emissions, a framework for building electrification, and a study on clean energy by NRDC.

Making the Value Visible: A Blueprint for Transforming the High-Performing Homes Market by Showcasing Clean and Efficient Energy Improvements | Elevate Energy

A collaboration between Elevate Energy and the Building Performance Association, a recent high-performing homes report outlines actions that professionals can take to maximize the value of these homes in the market. The white paper documents the steady increase in demand for high-performing homes among buyers in recent decades. While more than 2 million homes have been built to these standards over the past 10 years, many buyers encounter obstacles to finding a home with the features they desire, including those with performance improvements and green certifications. By taking steps to make high-performing homes and their features visible and valuable to consumers, real estate professionals and potential homebuyers alike can benefit.

Learn about the benefits of green building, specifically LEED certification.

Green Spaces and Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Cohort Studies | Barcelona Institute for Global Health

In a review and meta-analysis published in The Lancet Planetary Health, researchers summarized the available evidence and focused on studies that were longitudinal—those that follow the same cohort of individuals through several years—along with those that used a simple measure of green space based on satellite images. After identifying nine studies worldwide, the research team found that an incremental increase in greenness around homes is significantly associated with reduced premature mortality.

To find out how LEED v4.1 encourages access to open space, reduces the heat island effect, and more, view the Sustainable Sites credits.

Improving America’s Housing 2019 | Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Aging national housing stock has served as a welcome opportunity for the home improvement industry, according to researchers on the latest report put out by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. In 2017, the remodeling market saw nearly $425 billion in economic activity, a significant increase in spending by rental property owners after a rise in rental demand following the housing crisis. According to the study, homeowners spent $68 billion on improvements related to home energy use, representing 29% of total owner market expenditures. More than 17% of homeowners cited "energy efficiency" as the motivation for their projects in 2017, an increase from 11% in 2013.

Learn about how LEED supports energy performance for building projects in our policy brief.

Low-rise Buildings as a Climate Change Solution 2019 | Builders for Climate Action

The first white paper released by Builders for Climate Action modeled two sample buildings with a variety of conventional and alternative building materials to determine the impact of “up-front” embodied carbon emissions. The study concluded that while typical low-rise buildings have high up-front embodied carbon emissions, cost-effective material options can reduce net up-front carbon to zero. Material selection, the study found, is the most effective intervention at the single building level, with potential reduction of emissions of 150%. To view the full report, an email sign-up is required.

Learn how LEED Zero can support net zero carbon goals.

Equitable Building Electrification: A Framework for Powering Resilient Communities | Greenlining Institute

A framework from the Greenlining Institute outlines recommendations for the state of California in using electrification to help close the clean energy gap among residents, with the goal of addressing energy insecurity in the current system. Building electrification involves the elimination of fossil fuels for purposes like heating and cooking and the replacement of gas appliances with those that use electricity. The five-step framework offers a blueprint for how building electrification can be aligned with supporting healthy homes, stable jobs and state goals for mitigating climate change.

Learn how the city of San Jose supports electrification.

Clean Energy Opportunities and Dirty Energy Challenges | Natural Resources Defense Council

In its seventh annual report, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) examined the state of the national energy sector and found that while tangible progress has been made in clean energy, more should be done. The report found that solar and wind energy technologies are becoming more accessible, and the cost of renewable energy continues to rapidly decrease. The report also stressed the impact of energy efficiency on households, citing savings of almost $500 for the average U.S. family in energy and water bills from national appliance efficiency standards already in place. The study predicted that, overall, federal appliance and equipment efficiency standards will save American homes and businesses nearly $2 trillion on utility costs by 2030. NRDC also reported continued progress on the city level, with individual cities taking more than 250 major actions to advance energy efficiency goals through building and transportation policies and community initiatives that seek to address social equity since 2017.

Learn how LEED can save households money in our LEED in Motion report.

If you have suggestions for future studies we could share, please contact Alysson Blackwelder.

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