Hello Clay and thanks for your post.
I have to agree with my colleagues that despite the movement toward renewable products, recycled building materials, more efficient appliances, solar panels, and water systems, the average American buyer simply is unwilling at this time to pay for these new and technology more sophisticated products. In fact, although home buyers "support" the development of green housing products, those same individuals will not expend the 20% more in costs to support the implementation of those same products. A good example is a housing project that I manager in San Jose where the homes have achieved a coveted Building Industry recognized energy and "green" system rating. The price of the houses were 14 percent higher than the surrounding homes to cover the new products and, guess what, no one wanted to pay more for a better, more efficient home. Even though the developer did not make a dime off the cost of the green upgrades, to limit the increase, the homes still stayed on the market longer than their "non-green" competition.
I do agree with you, Clay, that we're so far behind our European and developed Asian country counterparts. In fact, home insulation, for example, in most of Europe has been for almost 20 years now, four times (4 x) more efficient than the stuff we stick in the walls here in the US. Only in the past decade have builders been interested in upgrading their building materials with newer and more efficient European products. It's good that we've adapted, but sad that it's taken so long.
So here's to hoping that, as part of our recovery and in this more economically conscious political climate, we see more green bulidings in the future.
Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
P. S. Thomas, a green Dodge Dart--probably with the black pinstripe package--I have an whole new vision of you, Speed Racer! : )