According to a study by Calvert, a leader in Sustainable and Responsible Investments (SRI), America’s leading homebuilders have a long way to go to become sustainable. Though homebuilders such as Pulte and KB Homes have improved their policies and practices concerning the environment, others including DR Horton and Ryland Group have actually gotten worse (though in their defense, they’ve probably been more concerned with keeping the business afloat during this time than incorporating green elements into homes).
The study, A Green Recovery for America’s Homebuilder? A Survey of Sustainable Practices by the Homebuilding Industry, updates a similar 2008 study that highlighted the greenest homebuilders in America. It notes, "Out of 42 [possible] points, the average total score was just over six points, or 15 percent. While all 10 homebuilders have made some effort to develop environmental policies or practices, or to offer environmental products, there is strong differentiation in the level of commitment to sustainability and the penetration of 'green' homes in each company's product mix. Without leading companies KB Home and Pulte Homes, the overall analytical performance of the industry in our study would have been far worse — scoring an average of less than 6 percent against key green data points."
Calvert ranked the top 10 homebuilders were ranked as follows for 2010:
#1 KB Home, Los Angeles (#1 in 2008)
#2 Pulte Homes, Bloomfield Hills, MI (tied for #2 in 2008)
#3 Meritage Homes, Scottsdale, AZ (#8 in 2008)
#4 Toll Brothers, Horsham, PA (#9 in 2008)
#5 Lennar, Miami, FL (#5 in 2008)
#6 DR Horton, Fort Worth, TX (tied for #2 in 2008)
#7 Standard Pacific, Irvine, CA (tied for #11 in 2008)
#8 NVR, Reston, VA. (last at #13 in 2008)
#9 Ryland Group, Calabasas, CA (#6 in 2008)
#10 MDC Holdings Denver, CO (tied for #11 in 2008).
"Our in-depth review analyzes five areas that present significant challenges to the industry- land, building materials, energy, water, and climate change. While many homebuilders have made some regional efforts to address these five areas, we are witnessing the stirrings of an industry shift towards nation-wide implementation," said Jennifer Green, Associate Sustainability Analyst at Calvert Asset Management Co., Inc. and co-author of the Report in a statement. "We are heartened to see that more companies are now favoring greater transparency than they were at the time of our last review. The leading companies in our survey have the first mover's advantage in that they can influence industry trends and can be more flexible in responding to the stress a changing climate will no doubt place upon their operations."