McGraw Hill Construction says 20 percent of homes built last year were green, and that figure is slated to rise to between 29 percent and 38 percent by 2016. Most large builders have made energy efficient home construction a standard practice, and federal tax credits for such components as insulation and geothermal heat pumps have helped green housing go mainstream. Nexus Energy Homes COO Bruce McIntosh says green homes generally cost 5 to 10 percent more than conventional dwellings, but material and construction costs are on the decline. Low-energy homes are gaining in popularity as a way to cut utility bills, address concerns about future energy costs, and become independent from the power grid. Studies show that homeowners also reap the benefits of energy efficiency when they sell their homes, with researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Los Angeles reporting that in 2012, California dwellings with the LEED for Homes, ENERGY STAR(R), NAHB Green, or other green certification fetched 9 percent more than a comparable house without the green label. However, Erich Cabe, an agent at Coldwell Banker, says green features are more of a selling point in markets like Berkeley, Calif., and Boulder, Colo., than in places like Washington, D.C. | Read More