Builders and Consumers Perceive Green Homes as Affordable to Live in But Expensive to Build New Survey From Whirlpool Corporation and Habitat for Humanity International Also Find Consumers Believe Savings may be Worth the Expense

BENTON HARBOR, Mich., Nov. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Green homes offer a wide variety of benefits from reducing carbon footprints to saving money on utility bills to even improving the health of children. However, a recent Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE: WHR) and Habitat for Humanity survey conducted by the NAHB Research Center,* polled home builders, as well as consumers, and found many believe there's a disconnect between living in a green home and purchasing one. Yet, the majority of respondents (64%) indicated that savings from green home features were sometimes worth the added costs and efforts. This finding was consistent across all income level groups for both renters and homeowners.

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It's a particularly difficult position for the majority of homeowners in the United States. The consumer survey, fielded in August 2010 by the NAHB Research Center to gauge perceptions of affordable and green housing, found that the majority of High (67%), Upper Middle (65%), and Middle (59%) income respondents, as well as nearly half of low income respondents (48%), indicated they believe a completely green home would be affordable to live in or maintain. Yet only high-income respondents were more likely to indicate that a completely green home would be affordable to purchase (71%).

"The health benefits, low utility costs and other factors make green homes ideal for all homeowners. However, it takes a united front of manufacturers, builders and organizations to help builders and consumers understand that building green can be affordable," said Tom Halford, general manager, contract sales and marketing, Whirlpool Corporation. "There's a need to bridge the perception gap between green-building and affordability, so that builders and families understand that options exist to improve their footprint in the long-term, while saving money and resources in the short-term."

The builder survey, fielded July-August 2010 to members of the Research Center's Online Builder Panel, found that 87 percent believe green homes are affordable for middle income families to live in, while 30 percent felt green homes were too expensive for the segment to purchase or build. For low-income families, 70 percent of home builders believe green homes are affordable to live in, and nearly 60 percent of builders thought green homes were too expensive for low-income families to purchase or build.

"Under Habitat's nonprofit construction model, Habitat affiliates across the United States are incorporating sustainable materials and energy-efficient products in Habitat homes, as this is both a responsible building practice and it improves the affordability of homes for Habitat partner homeowners," said Larry Gluth, senior vice president of U.S. and Canada for Habitat for Humanity International. "The challenge is to help people understand that building green doesn't mean it can't be affordable too."

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses, which are sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable loans.  Whirlpool Corporation donates a range and ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerator to every Habitat home built nationally, totaling more than 110,000 appliances to-date. The company supports Habitat in its mission globally, and beginning in 2011 will support every Habitat home via home sponsorship, product donation or volunteerism.

These findings are the first in a series of results from the Whirlpool Corporation/Habitat for Humanity builder and consumer surveys. For more information on affordable housing, visit www.habitat.org or www.whirlpool.com/habitat.  

About Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 350,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.75 million people. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit www.habitat.org.

About Whirlpool Corporation

In 10 years of partnership with Habitat for Humanity®, Whirlpool Corporation has donated more than 110,000 ranges and ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerators to new Habitat homes built in North America, serving 55,000 families.  The company has sponsored more than 100 homes around the world and served nearly 10,000 families in Europe. Additionally, Whirlpool has donated more than 10,000 products to Habitat ReStores and has engaged more than 6,000 employee volunteers.  A proud sponsor of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project since 2003, the value of the company's commitment to Habitat nears $72 million.  With active partnerships in 22 countries, Whirlpool plans to support every new Habitat home built globally by 2011, through product donations, cash or volunteerism.  For more information, go to http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com/responsibility/building_communities/habitat_for_humanity.aspx.

Whirlpool Corporation is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of approximately $17 billion in 2009, 67,000 employees, and 67 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Consul, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world. Additional information about the company can be found at http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com/.

Methodology

The builder portion of the study surveyed 304 respondents and was conducted from July 23 - Aug. 4, 2010, using an online format. Members of the NAHB Research Center Online Builder Panel were invited to take the survey and respondents were required to be an active homebuilder or general contractor. The consumer portion surveyed 1,092 homeowners from Aug. 23-25, 2010, using an online format. Consumers nationwide were invited to take the survey through email invitations.

*NAHB Research Center is a subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders

SOURCE Whirlpool Corporation



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