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Millennials are changing the way the world works. We see this more and more as they are becoming increasingly involved in social activism, seen through an array of different movements such as Occupy Wall Street, and the political process. Also, and most notably, they are the most environmentally conscious generation ever. A recent survey revealed that 83% of millennials allow the sustainable attributes of a product to influence their purchasing decisions. They also tend to favour working for companies that care about their impact on the planet, and many of them are choosing buses and bikes over cars. As they begin to enter the housing market, they’re focusing on sustainable features that not only save them money but also help to reduce their overall carbon footprint.
Millennial homebuyers have a certain level of expectation when it comes to their ideal home. It should be built responsibly using sustainable materials, it should include energy efficient appliances, and it should be accessible – and preferably walkable. It shouldn’t completely break the bank either; 84% of millennials are willing to pay roughly 2%–3% more for an energy-efficient home as long as they can see a return on their energy bills. So how do builders address this growth in demand for sustainable homes and communities? Well, many of them are responding by making many of these features regular additions to their new communities. In 2014, over 56% of developers in Canada reported more than 30% of their current project were green. That’s a jump from 37% in 2011.
I’ve been building green for years, having twice won BILD’s Green Builder of the Year award. It’s great to see that more and more builders are catching on – even if it did take the millennial (and market) demands to convince their shift in thinking.