Home Energy Efficiency to Get Its Day in the Sun by 2014

Tools and services for improving a home’s energy efficiency — things like Energy Star appliances, home energy audits and green roofing materials — often lack the glitz and gadget-appeal of solar panels and other highly visible signs that a homeowner has “gone green.” But according to a new report out today from Pike Research, energy efficiency retrofits, products and services for the residential building market are poised to see a wave of growth as the U.S. pulls out of recession over the next five years.

In particular, Pike forecasts that the home energy auditing market will nearly triple to $23 billion by 2014, up from $8.1 billion last year. The market for efficiency improvements along the lines of roofing and window replacements and upgrades for HVAC systems and appliances will increase to $50.2 billion by 2014, up from $38.3 billion in 2009, the firm predicts. And Energy Star refrigerators and clothes washers could generate revenues of $21.9 billion to $33.2 billion between 2009 and 2014.

After what Pike describes as “a long period of obscurity” for energy efficiency — not to mention a major slowdown in new home sales and remodeling — what’s driving this growth? A big part of it comes from federal, state and local governments offering incentives, tightening building codes (one of our 4 Green Building Trends to Watch in 2010) and developing new green building requirements.

But there’s more to it, says Pike managing director Clint Wheelock. “A number of factors are converging to make energy efficient residential products and services a hot sector over the next several years,” he notes in today’s release, including environmental awareness among consumers and new offerings and rebates from product makers. And As Geoff Chapin, chief executive for home energy retrofitter Next Step Living, told us recently, rebates from utilities for homeowners to get energy audits, install insulation or take other steps to reduce their energy use are also helping to boost business for energy efficiency companies.

But Pike voices concern that the residential efficiency market could see short-lived growth if government programs like President Obama’s so-called “cash for caulkers” initiative supporting home energy retrofits comes to an end at some point. However, regulations like California’s new green building code, adopted last month and taking effect next year, have staying power. And there’s nothing like the simple progression of time to spur interest in some of these technologies and services: Pike anticipates that the aging U.S. housing stock, along with rising utility prices in coming years, will help buoy demand for energy efficiency products.

Photos courtesy of Flickr user O b s k u r a

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