Energy-efficient home building gains momentum 

Barbara and Clair Ramsey for Anchorage Daily News, July 16, 2011

With new construction at all-time lows and so many unsold homes, creating a distinct, positive product in the mind of the consumer may be the only way some national builders will survive.

Energy-efficient construction is also a way to create a distinction between new and existing homes. When demand was high and new homes were pre-selling, the building industry balked at mandating energy-efficient features because of concerns they would cost too much. Now, once-optional energy-efficient upgrades are becoming standard features.

It sounds like something new and innovative, but it has really just taken a long time to change our national mindset. It began in the early 1980s with the goal of promoting home energy ratings and providing energy-related mortgage incentives.

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