Surveys show people want efficiency and sustainability at home

The Covid-19 pandemic forced us all to stay home more than we wanted, and, for many of us, we spent much of that time looking around and resolving to make things better. We remodeled our bathrooms, covered our roofs in solar panels, and built backyard decks. And a fast-growing proportion of us also swapped out old, drafty windows for energy-efficient new ones. Window buyers want efficient windows, according to several surveys and trend monitors.

American builders and realtors have noticed that change, reporting surges in the percentage of people who prize energy efficiency and sustainability. The National Association of Realtors 2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report found a huge jump in the number of realtors who had clients looking for a home with green features: 50 percent for the year, up from just 36 percent in 2021.

When the National Association of Home Builders asked its construction company membership about it, they, too, found rising enthusiasm for energy-efficient homes. As of 2018, of 1,110 builders surveyed about 33 percent said they’d build a single-family home with green features. Asked for reasons why 68 percent of builders said they felt it was the right thing to do. About 47 percent cited the health benefits for occupants, and 42 percent found it boosted their professional reputation.

The realtors and the builders are of course interested in what’s going on inside the heads of consumers, and their data provide a fascinating look at our evolving wants and needs. The What Home Buyers Really Want survey for 2021 helped break it down into several categories.

What it showed is that Americans remain cost-conscious, as just 15 percent would pay more for a home described as “environmentally friendly, but it also found that homeowners aren’t going green just because it feels good or because of their values. We’re doing it for those reasons and it makes homes more comfortable and it’s a path to saving money. In the survey, 57 percent of respondents said they would pay $5,000 or more for a house if it leads to an annual savings of at least $1,000 on utilities.

The survey dug deeper still, asking about specific products in an energy-efficient, sustainable home. The most popular answer was ENERGY STAR-certified windows, at 83 percent. The most popular efficient-window technology was glass which also insulates a home from the elements, at 65 percent. Our mission at the Efficient Windows Collaborative is to make these types of technologies easy to understand. Browse our site to learn #whywindowsmatter, and to understand the types and parts that make them efficient. And use this fantastic guide from our friends at the Inspection Support Network to help you go green across your whole house, and not just the windows.

For windows, can use the Window Selection Tool to see a list of ENERGY STAR windows perfect for your home. The Efficient Windows Collaborative is owned by the National Fenestration Ratings Council, the independent body that rates the energy efficiency of windows, doors, and skylights, and these ratings are used to determine ENERGY STAR certification. Some of the other most-wanted green features include ENERGY STAR appliances, cited by 81 percent of respondents, and efficient lighting, at 80 percent.

With the survey figures showing big jumps in interest in efficient windows and other energy-efficiency options, we’re looking forward to seeing new surveys and trends as they emerge, so keep us bookmarked and we’ll be sure to share!


Matt is a communications consultant based in Baltimore, Maryland, who works with the efficiency experts who run the Efficient Windows Collaborative to help spread an important message about efficient windows.