While summer is a predictably busy season for contractors and construction companies, new statistics have revealed that home building rates are currently at their fastest of the year, surprising many economists’ predictions. While the median projection previously estimated that 965,000 new buildings would be constructed by July, the United States Census Bureau reported a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.1 million homes, a 15.7% increase from June. Many of these projects are believed to be due to improving job and income growth, even though many of the new buildings are apartment buildings rather than single-family dwellings. However, this trend appears to be giving builders and property owners the opportunity to invest in new, clean energy technology.
In Rotterdam, New York, for example, the owner of several apartment buildings recently purchased $2.1 million worth of property, where he reportedly plans to construct a 156-unit “net zero” housing complex. David Bruns, of Bruns Realty LLC, bought 17 acres and 24 existing apartment units from Mid America Student Housing. Bruns is now seeking authorization from Rotterdam town officials to construct 13 new energy-efficient buildings. The complex would use solar panels and other clean energy features to reduce tenants’ utility costs and promote sustainable living. The project would reportedly be called Net Zero Village.
Bruns’ apartment complex is part of a growing movement focusing on the benefits clean energy offers residents’ budgets and the environment as a whole. Already, many new homes are built with new home building techniques that can improve a building’s energy efficiency by as much as 17%. However, research shows that clean energy itself is also increasing: clean energy job rates are growing across the United States, with more than 12,500 clean energy and transportation jobs announced in 29 states from April to June, twice the amount reported the previous quarter. These positions not only have the potential to help the environment, but also improve the nation’s overall employment rate and economy.
These building and employment trends are likely due to a number of factors: firstly, clean energy has never been more popular, with a 2013 Stanford University poll revealing that 90% of Americans believe solar energy is a wise investment, and 84% in favor of wind energy. The study showed that only 21% supported further use of coal energy. Secondly, further advancements in solar and wind energy, as well as energy efficiency, are reportedly making clean energy more affordable and accessible. Thirdly, new policies in California, Arizona and other states are making it easier than ever for companies and individuals to invest in environmentally-friendly technology and methodology. With these factors helping to combine growing employment rates and environmental health, it seems likely that these energy-efficient building trends and growth will continue for the foreseeable future.