As developers tout their green practices in every area of construction, J.S. Hovnanian & Sons, a New Jersey based home builder, is taking a more pragmatic approach to marketing its 55+ community as environmentally friendly. As part of these efforts, J.S. Hovnanian & Sons has recently received the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Green certification for its Roesville project, located in Frederica, Delaware. Each of the homes ranges from 1,547 square feet to over 2300 square feet and are all one level designs. The project contains 444 units and will have a 10,000 square-foot lodge, complete with a comprehensive fitness center and grand ballroom with various facilities for physical fitness.
Garo Hovnanian, Marketing Research Manager of the company, said that the impetus that drove the company towards using environmentally friendly design originated in early 2008 after interviewing a test group of seniors on environmental designs for quality homes for their retirement years. J.S. Hovnanian has received multiple awards for quality in the past, including the 2007 J.D. Power and Associates award for “Ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction for New Home Builders in Philadelphia Area”.
“We interviewed a test group of seniors and found that there was not much excitement for environmentally friendly technologies unless there was a demonstrable dollar benefit to the senior purchasing a house,” said Garo Hovnanian.
In order to accomplish this, the design team focused on using Energy Star appliances that show a 15% reduction in utility costs. Combined with no sales tax in the state of Delaware, seniors will see a tangible savings by the combination keeping more money or using those savings to make their retirement more enjoyable. Since 2002, Energy Star has been the standard type of appliances installed by J.S. Hovnanian and is part of NAHB’s recommended specifications for its certification process. In aligning with the NAHB certification process, the company feels that it employs industry best practices as well as maintaining its focus on providing a high quality product with standardized appliances and fixtures.
When asked about further certifications such as the LEED designation, Hovnanian explained that the company looked into the process but couldn’t provide a quantifiable benefit in dollars to the consumer between the additional certification costs and the specific savings achieved by that certification.
“Until we can provide specific dollars and costs savings through further certifications, we are not going to add more costs to our projects unless we can clearly and specifically communicate the cost benefits,” explained Hovnanian.