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USGBC Admits Only 0.2% of New Homes Are Built Green

Watchdog group for green construction says "greenwashing," public confusion and phony claims have hurt adoption rates.

USGBC Admits Only 0.2% of New Homes Are Built Green
Even though the number of new green-built homes is low, the U.S. Green Building Council concluded its annual Greenbuild Expo in Boston with more than 26,000 attendees.
Jason Knott · December 3, 2008

Despite all the publicity surrounding green building, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) admits that only 0.2 percent of new residential construction is built green.

That woeful number is far below the 25 percent goal the association had sought after 15 years in existence. In fact, the group says only 3 percent of all commercial buildings built in 2007 met minimum green certification levels.

The council recently laid out its strategic plan for moving forward, saying many in the residential sector are already referring to green as “mainstream” when, in total, only 2 percent to 10 percent of existing homes are deemed to be green.

In it Strategic Plan, the USGBC address issues such as “greenwashing,” the confusion among the public, and the falseness of major corporations claiming to be green when they really are not.

The USGBC speculates that 15 years from now, in a perfect scenario, it will no longer need to exist as a watchdog group because every building will be net-zero and green guidelines will be obsolete as they become mainstream.

Taking advantage of green was the topic of several sessions at the recently concluded EHX Fall in Long Beach, Calif. Concurring with the “greenwashing” debate, three dealers participating on the panel discussion mentioned that selling green technology to homeowners needs to have the commitment of the entire integration company to succeed. Otherwise, homeowner perception is that the dealers are merely phony baloneys.

The USGBC just concluded its annual Greenbuild Expo with more than 26,000 attendees. The exhibitors at the event, which was held in Boston, were primarily from the commercial arena.

There were few residential-oriented booths. The show’s opening keynoter was South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Former President Bill Clinton spoke at an evening event.

  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at

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  Article Topics

News · Builders · All Topics
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