WASHINGTON — New research revealed that a growing number of residential customers are prioritizing zero net energy (ZNE) homes and are willing to pay more to achieve ZNE status.
The findings were part of a study commissioned by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) and conducted by a third-party research firm, Harris Insights & Analytics LLC. For the purpose of the survey, a ZNE home was defined to respondents as one that produces as much energy as it uses.
“The study revealed some really interesting data and we were excited to see that the majority of respondents expressed an interest in energy efficient and ZNE home projects,” said Bryan Cordill, director of residential and commercial business development at PERC. “These insights can help guide construction professionals looking to grow their customer base in this emerging home-building approach.”
The survey reached 2,200 U.S. residents who were self-described as soon-to-be purchasing, remodeling, or building a home. Of the 2,200 polled, 1,000 expected to purchase a home in the next two years (buyers), another 1,000 expected to remodel one or more rooms in their home in the next two years (remodelers), and 200 were likely to build a home in the next two years (builders). In addition to the 2,200 residents surveyed, 200 construction professionals also provided input.
Notable findings from the study include:
Nearly all respondents feel at least somewhat favorable toward ZNE homes, and the likelihood to consider a ZNE home is high.
- Favorability of ZNE homes is nearly unanimous with 98 percent of builders, 95 percent of buyers, 89 percent of remodelers being at least somewhat favorable.
- Eighty-three percent of buyers and 89 percent of builders said they were likely to consider a ZNE home for their next home purchase or build.
- Cost savings and environmental benefits were the most commonly cited reasons why buyers and builders were considering a ZNE home.
Most respondents expressed a willingness to pay more for a ZNE home.
- Eighty-four percent of builders and 81 percent of remodelers stated a willingness to pay more for a ZNE home. On average, respondents were willing to pay between 20 and 30 percent more.
- Construction professionals estimate, on average, that it would cost 36 percent more for a home to meet ZNE standards compared to a standard home.
The study also showed that construction professionals are optimistic about the future demand for ZNE homes. In fact, nearly 9 in 10 expect demand to increase over the next five to 20 years. Notably, close to four in 10 expect demand will increase significantly — representing a 153 percent increase over those who said the demand had increased significantly over the past couple of years.
“As this trend continues to grow, it’s important for construction professionals to educate themselves, and their customers on how a home’s energy systems and appliances affect the overall efficiency of a home — and its ZNE status,” Cordill said. “Propane provides a whole-home energy solution and construction professionals who use propane can set themselves apart in the market.”
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