Residential Research Quarterly: June 2019

In our second-quarter residential research roundup, USGBC highlights resale values of green homes in California, a compilation of innovative building technology projects, the value of residential electrification, how negative environmental factors can impact human health and a new report by Fannie Mae on green bonds.

Green Homes Sales Prices in Northern California | Build It Green

This study by Build It Green looked at close to 1,400 homes certified with green rating systems (including LEED) in the San Francisco Bay area and found that green homes earned a higher seller price than similar, conventional homes in the area. This report reinforces the findings of USGBC’s 2017 study on resale values of homes in the Austin, Texas area, which found an even greater premium in that market. The Build It Green study also discusses strategies in the real estate market for emphasizing the value of green home data.

Building Technologies Office Peer Review | U.S. Department of Energy

In April, the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office Peer Review convened researchers, developers and other experts in the building innovation sector to examine the findings of a variety of projects. This meeting saw presentations by U.S. project teams on their efforts to enhance the efficiency, durability and resilience of buildings, including homes. One project, led by Atlanta-based USGBC member organization Southface Energy Institute, focused on the development of a performance-based indoor air quality assessment protocol for homes. To review all 2019 DOE Peer Review projects, visit the official website.

The LEED residential rating system has an entire credit category devoted to indoor air quality, composed of prerequisites and credits designed to maintain human health, since Americans spend, on average, 90% of their time indoors. To support this goal, strategies like compartmentalization and combustion venting are required for all LEED-certified homes. Learn more about how LEED supports indoor air quality.

Residential Building Electrification in California | Energy+Environmental Economics

A new study by Energy+Environmental Economics (E3) surveyed the costs, savings and emissions for electric and gas appliances in six different types of homes, evaluating the consumer cost perspective on building electrification and quantifying greenhouse gas emissions by home type. The E3 study reported that, for most home types, building electrification would lead to life cycle cost savings. Specifically, all new construction homes and nearly all existing single-family homes with air conditioning would save significant resources by transitioning to a fully electric system.

Furthermore, electrification was found to have the potential to significantly, and immediately, cut greenhouse gas emissions from homes. For example, by switching to all-electric appliances, a home in Sacramento built in the 1990s would reduce its emissions by half. The study concluded that electrification can support sustainability and equity policy goals, especially as heat waves become more severe and affect low-income communities more intensely than other populations.

Learn more about how LEED promotes socially responsible practices through its social equity pilot credits, within the community, the project team and the supply chain.

Association between the living environment and the risk of arterial hypertension and other components of metabolic syndrome | Oxford University Press

In this recently released study, researchers found that air pollution, traffic noise and living in apartment buildings may be associated with an increased risk for hazardous health conditions including heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes. Using a sample population of residents of single-family homes and multi-family residential buildings in Lithuania, researchers investigated the correlation between long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and proximity to green space with the onset of hypertension and metabolic syndrome. Above-average levels of air pollution were associated with a higher risk of reduced high density lipoprotein (HDL, or “the good cholesterol”), and traffic-related exposure was associated with a greater risk of hypertension, reduced HDL and other issues.

Learn about how green buildings can help contribute to better health and wellness, and take a look at how occupant health has become a top issue for the green building industry and for USGBC.

Multifamily Green Bond Impact Report 2012–2018 | Fannie Mae

Incorporation of sustainability features has helped reduce operating costs for over half a million renters, according to Fannie Mae. In its first Multifamily Green Bond Impact Report, the company reported that by adding features like energy-efficient light bulbs, low-flow toilets, and efficient heating and cooling systems, around 550,000 U.S. renters have saved as much as $72 million annually over a span of six years. To support these efforts, Fannie offers innovative financing solutions that incorporate resource efficiency into traditional mortgage lending, and its Green Bond issuances support retrofits of traditional housing stocks to enhance sustainability and increase savings for residents.

Learn more about LEED’s role in multifamily financing incentives and how USGBC works to bring green buildings to all residents.

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

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