DE-CARBONIZING NEW HOMES IN NEW JERSEY: REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS AND GREEN HOMEBUILDING DECISIONS

Project Details

Description

The state of New Jersey and many of its communities have committed to mitigating its contribution to climate change by limiting its greenhouse gas emissions. In June 2006, the state legislature passed a bill setting a state-wide goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13% by 2020. In addition, over twenty New Jersey towns have signed on to the U.S. Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement, a voluntary commitment reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 7% below 1990 levels by 2012. In New Jersey, residential homes account for 22% and transportation accounts for 38% of all state energy use and major greenhouse gas emitters (EIA, 2006). While home-owners or renters can make some choices about their energy use, the structural design features of homes (passive solar, solar panels, insulation, lighting and appliances) strongly influence how much energy it uses. In addition, the location of the home influences transportation energy use depending on whether it is close to public transportation or walking distance to work and amenities. Unless building a custom home, homebuyers are left to buy what developers decide to build based on developer's perceptions of consumer interests in location and home features. An increased availability of homes that empower its resident's to use less energy and de-carbonize their energy sources can provide significant energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions. This makes real estate developers particularly powerful decision-makers in determining the lifetime greenhouse gas impacts of a home. This work focuses on New Jersey real estate developer decisions to build homes that meet a variety of requirements and the greenhouse gas impacts of those decisions. It will identify the factors that influence real estate decisions to adopt various climate-friendly building practices as defined by EPA, DOE and USGBC, greenhouse gas impacts of practices, and potential policies to accelerate adoption. The availability of these homes is an important step toward empowering individuals to be able to decrease their carbon footprints in their daily lives. Questions concerning the future residential developments toward low-carbon options are: 1) what factors influence real estate developer's decisions of whether to build a climate-friendly home 2) the energy and greenhouse gas emission impacts of shifting these decisions, and 3) what policies may further shift these decisions. This project will investigate those real estate developers that have participated in various green homes programs, document the reasons for their participation, and model greenhouse gas impacts if these practices were to diffuse more broadly in the development industry.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/1/109/30/13

Funding

  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))

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