Green vs. Green: Homeowners Worry About Costs of Eco-Makeovers

homeowners remodelingThe cost of environmentally friendly home makeovers was the top concern of 2,300 homeowners polled with intercept surveys by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, with 36% citing expense as the main deterrent.

Homeowners also cited concerns about potential inconvenience (22%) and lack of time (17%); these result echoes previous polls which found consumers consider "green" practices, at both the personal and national levels, as economic tradeoffs that costs them more. On the other hand, 18% said they were prevented from going green by lack of knowledge, indicating there's still an audience for information on eco-friendly practices.

Nonetheless, 48% of homeowners said they would spend $2,500 or more to give their house a green spruce-up before putting it up for sale, and 30% would spend $5,000 or more, provided it would increase the re-sale price; in other words, they're ready to embrace green practices if there's a prospect of profit. This information may be useful in advertising green products and services to consumers, suggesting for example combining the themes of economy and ecology.



Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate was launched as a national franchised brokerage firm in July under the aegis of Realogy, which is also the parent company of Century 21 and Coldwell Banker.

The BHGRE survey seems to agree with other polls showing Americans believe environmental and economic well-being are opposed. Over the years, Gallup has also surveyed Americans attitudes towards the economy and environment. In March 2008, Gallup found that 49% said they would choose saving the environment over economic growth, versus 42% saying they would choose the opposite ranking of priorities. While this puts the pro-environment faction slightly ahead of the pro-economy faction, Gallup pointed out that this reflects a major shift in public opinion, compared to periods of greater economic security. For example, in January 2000, at the end of the dot-com era, 70% of Americans said they believed the environment should take priority over the economy. This suggests that public opinion on this subject is highly malleable, and can change dramatically in response to economic pressures.

In May 2008, the polling organization found that 54% of Americans favored suspending the federal gas tax in the belief that it would lower gas prices. Also in May, Gallup found 57% of Americans said they favored the expansion of oil drilling in offshore and wilderness areas that are currently "off limits," also to reduce the price of gas.

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