Stirring Giants

Green Homebuilding Progress Report

America’s 10 largest publicly traded home-builders have started to improve their environmental policies and practices, but much progress remains to be achieved, according to the latest Survey of Sustainable Practices by the Homebuilding Industry, by Calvert Asset Management Co. KB Home, based in Los Angeles, and Pulte Homes, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, were ranked as the top industry firms.

Calvert reports that out of 42 possible green data points, the average total score was just over six points, or 15 percent. Without the top two companies in the mix, the average overall score would have been less than 6 percent.

Green building represents a major industry opportunity. “Whereas two years ago, the industry had not yet begun to embrace sustainability as a core part of building design and construction, companies today have taken many meaningful steps toward developing greener and cleaner homes,” says Rebecca Henson, a sustainability analyst at Calvert and co-author of the report. “However, given the environmental impact that homebuilding has, the industry has significantly more progress to make.”

Companies are most active in energy efficiency and conservation, paying more attention to sustainability issues that can offer short-term financial benefits to operating costs and customers, such as building material recycling and energy and water efficiency measures. Issues with long-term benefits, such as climate change, are not well addressed.

For more information, search Green Homebuilder at To assess a home’s energy efficiency score, take the quiz at

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Quick Quarters

Harnessing technology and cleverness, homebuilding startups in the Ukraine, Italy and Lebanon are offering tiny, energy-neutral, quick-built houses at low cost.

Well Well

Scientists, doctors and other researchers have developed the WELL Building Standard, a certification program that emphasizes human health and well-being in the design of new structures.


An innovative, easily duplicated house built in a foreclosure-heavy neighborhood in Washington, D.C., consumes 90 percent less energy than conventional homes, for a competitive price tag of $250,000.

Bunker Hunker

Could people someday live in an underground skyscraper? Maybe. A designer’s innovative plan would theoretically fill a 900-foot-deep, 300-acrewide crater left by the Lavender Pit copper mine, in Bisbee, Arizona.

Find Out

Wondering whether a new community development is green? Download this hands-on guide, created by the National Resources Defense Council.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags